Forty-four women are still missing from reports made in 2020.
This was stated by Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith yesterday during a news conference at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain.
At the time Griffith was attempting to clarify misinformation on the topic of missing persons in this country, pointing out that since the death of Andrea Bharatt, media outlets, including international ones, had picked up and utilised incorrect information or “out-of-context” statistics to paint an image that there was a crisis in this country as it regarded missing persons.
Griffith stated 771 people were reported missing in 2020—432 of whom were women. However, by the year’s end 667 of those had been found and accounted for.
This left 104 people unaccounted for, of which only 44 were women.
Those numbers, Griffith said, were expected to be lower in actuality, as there have been several cases in this country were “found persons” were not reported to the police by the family.
He said the misinformation being spread in the public domain was damaging to the country as a whole, as it was being touted that there were 432 missing women in this country in 2020 alone.
“So the perception is that there are 432 women missing in this country in 2020, and that is inaccurate. It is 44. That being said, it does not take away the fact that if one person is missing it is unacceptable and it is something that must be dealt with. However, from 432 missing to 44... you can see that this is misinformation and gives the impression that we are in a situation that it is not being dealt with and we (the TTPS) are trying to hide the facts,” Griffith said.
Griffith said the “high numbers” were the result of changes in the Police Service as they act swiftly when a person is reported missing.
“There has been a turnaround in the service. While in the past it used to be a period of 48 hours or so before action was taken, or the report was statistically included, that is no longer the case. As you make a report, immediate action is taken by the service, and specialised units are engaged, including the Anti-Kidnapping Unit. So statistically, the overall number of missing persons may appear high, but when you look at the overall picture, and the realisation that 667 of those reports have been solved, and those ‘missing persons’ were found and returned home, then you can see the truth for what it really is,” Griffith said.