It would be surprising if the collapse of the Police Service Commission and the confusions surrounding the appointment of a Police Commissioner did not affect morale within the Trinidad and ­Tobago Police Service.
No organisation performs at its best under the kind of uncertainty now existing at the very top of the TTPS, where one leader is on the job providing operational leadership while another is on the outside with a claim to the same position. While today’s ruling from Justice Nadia Kangaloo may have an impact on this situation, the unstable environment within which the TTPS is operating cannot be conducive to optimum performance.
This point is worth underscoring in light of intensified gang ­activity which is claiming multiple lives on a daily basis. With murder statistics for 2021 now running neck and neck with last year’s, the Police Service must act now to get the upper hand against gangs before the situation spirals out of control.
Former and acting Commissioner Gary Griffith has attributed last year’s decline in murders to the “fear factor” that his policies fuelled among criminals, serving as a deterrent. We cannot say if this is so or not. However, the impact of pandemic-related lockdown measures cannot be ruled out.
Responding to the spate of murders between Monday and Tuesday, acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob linked the increase in murders to gangs fighting for contracts, drug turf and a spillover from illegal quarrying. It was predictable that the easing of restrictions would trigger a mad scramble for turf and advantage among gangs whose criminal enterprises had been severely disrupted by the lockdown. This newspaper had repeatedly urged the TTPS to anticipate and prepare for such an eventuality, and to use the lockdown period to put in the investigative work needed to prosecute the 100-plus gangs known to the Service. However, despite the tough anti-gang legislation passed by the Parliament, little headway has been made.
Far from being in retreat, gangs are advancing beyond their strongholds with complete impunity. It is now commonplace for them to follow their targets into public places and spray bullets into groups of people.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has been brutal on us, having claimed 1,572 lives as of yesterday, it has also provided a space for re-thinking approaches to intractable problems. Crime is one such problem T&T needed to get on top of over the past year and half. However, judging by the deadly force with which the beast of gang crime has sprung to life, the scale is still tilted against law and order.
This is worrying because the re-opening of T&T’s borders and the global economy will not only fuel turf and contract wars among gangs in T&T, but throughout their global network.
As a trans-shipment point for the trafficking of drugs, guns and humans, T&T must brace for a return of criminal enterprises with a vengeance. South American gangs that traffic their products through this country to North America and Europe will find fertile ground for recruiting agents and labour here, given T&T’s depressed economy. Gang crime could get very much worse if not reined in now.


The release of an anonymous voice note reporting mayhem in Port of Spain on Sunday, followed by Monday’s explosion of a device crudely built with firecrackers, suggests a calculated attempt to destabilise the population at a time when there is no Commissioner on Police in office.

I can only imagine being a diehard supporter and witnessing this political calamity occurring right before your eyes. Do you turn a blind eye, or do you face the veracity?

This is a letter to the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA).

Madam President, you and your colleagues at TTUTA have failed your members—the teachers. You seem to be more concerned with the image of your office and the brand that is TTUTA, instead of the well-being of your teachers.

“The future of our nation is in our children’s school bags.”

—Dr Eric Williams

What does it say for the future of our nation that our children’s school bags have been empty for the past 19 months? We all know education is arguably the primary indicator for social, economic and national development in any country.

TWO news items carried on different pages in the last edition of the Sunday Express combined to topple an intention to dedicate today’s agenda to the abolitionist cause.

It seems that the Ministry of Agriculture and, by extension, the Government of the day, has finally come to realise that farming, to a great extent, is the one sector to save us from a growing food import bill and, indeed, starvation.