Freedom… well sort of.

Since the Government of Trinidad and Tobago instituted a State of Emergency a few months ago, a lot of people have been faced with the restrictions placed by the curfew. With an initial curfew of 9pm to 5am, this was changed to 11pm to 4am. So after three months, they have decided to finally remove the curfew, although the SOE remains.

Many people at first hailed the SOE and the curfew as the greatest thing to happen against crime. Soon many of the people came to realise that nothing had changed. Many of the arrested were freed without being charged, murders still continued, and the police detection rate had actually decreased.

Yes, crime had fallen, but with an SOE and curfew, shouldn’t it have been almost zero. Added to that, nothing has been done to ensure that crime is tackled in a sustainable manner.

Still there are some who feel that the curfew should remain and that the SOE should continue indefinitely. These people are helpess and clueless, grabbing at straws hoping that something can save them, especially since they have no ideas of their own. I on the other hand have some ideas that I think can work if implemented.

  • Consistent and persistent police patrols. Not just car patrols, but foot patrols too. And this is not a gang of police like what we have now, in groups of 4 or 5, but 1 or 2 police officers patrolling the streets. This not only gives citizens a sense of security, but makes it more likely to catch a criminal in the act.
  • Act on all forms of lawlessness. Trinidad and Tobago has become a seriously lawless society. We see it everyday with the way we drive, carry on and perform. Private cars for hire (PH “taxis”), illegal vending, squatting, littering, are all forms of lawlessnes that we need to clamp down on. As long as a section of people feel that they can get away with a crime (and have no doubt that these are crimes), they will push the limits.
  • For anyone caught breaking a law, even a misdemeanor, perform a background check and lookup for outstanding warrants. It is possible that the PH driver or illegal vendor may also have a warrant out for their arrest, due to the fact that those involved in one illegal activity, often are involved in other illegal activities.
  • Get into communities and help them fix themselves. The current government is continuing the mistake of the past government in just giving away things to people – money, houses, jobs. These are things that should be earned, regardless of how destitute someone may be. There are times where charity is genuinely required, but we must scritinise the cases properly. Instead, we must ensure that communities are doing what they must to remain sustainable and productive, contibuting to building the nation and not just taking from it.
  • Ensure a smooth and efficient judiciary. We have cases that take way too long to start and then even longer to complete. This is not only expensive, but also dulls the feeling that justice is being prevailed. The judiciary must be given the proper resources it needs to improve themselves. On top of that, laws need to be updated to remove those archaic requirements and use exisiting technology. We have no acts in place for computer forensics, and even video evidence is not admissible in our cours becuase the laws don’t allow for it. It is time to get with the times.
  • Improved use of current technology. We’ve finally implemented the breathalyser, but still takes three police officers to catch someone speeding. We have cameras all over, but we are unsure if they are being used, or even if they work at all.

As I get more, I’ll add them in, but feel free to suggest some yourself.

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