Express Editorial : Daily

AT the funeral a few years ago of one of his officers who had been murdered by someone still unknown, and for reasons equally mysterious, a former prisons commissioner movingly paraphrased the soca star Voice consigning such a perpetrator to flames. In other words, justice must be served.

For some it may have come across as a turning point in the resolve by the prisons authorities to gather greater determination in addressing what had long become a pattern. Prison officers appear to be sitting ducks for persons who have decided to exact the ultimate price, for what is yet to be made clear. Nothing has happened in the interim to give effect to the former commissioner’s threat.

Within days of each other in recent weeks, two more prison officers have been gunned down, with not so much as speculation behind what may have led to these murders. If the following has not been the conclusion of right-thinking citizens up to this point, it certainly has presented itself as a cold reality at present.

A decision to pursue a job, if not a career in the prison service, is one of life and death. The continued slaughter of these officers, with no clues as to why, makes this one of the potentially deadliest of occupations in Trinidad and Tobago today. In the wake of the murder of officer Stephen Richardson, sitting prisons chief Dennis Pulchan said the work of those under his command has some levels of danger attached to it. He testified to his and the authorities’ inability to pinpoint just why this has come to be the case.

He had been speaking, of course, in the shadow of the murder, just weeks earlier of another officer, Sherwin Francis. But the commissioner’s remarks qualify as understatement. There continues to be no indication of any intelligence into what is driving these successful plots to take out officers in the Prisons Service. This itself is singularly bothersome all on its own. By virtue of what is required of them in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, Prison officers must accept a grim reality. This is that they will likely become sitting ducks for interests and elements, inside and outside the system, vested in the perpetuation of an undeclared war.

Whether or not the repeated calls by the association representing the officers for them to be afforded arms for their own personal safety and security is still a rallying cry, one reality has been spawned over the period of this advocacy for self-defence. This is that this occupation has surely lost its attractiveness as a choice of employment for many job seekers.

There are obviously some officers who can be held to be responsible for enabling criminal activity, with the availability of cellphones inside the prisons, as an example. Equally, however, there are others committed to disrupting these systems inside the lock-up.

But the near-impunity with which those with clear, murderous axes to grind, continue to pick off those public officers calls for greater focus by the country’s forces of laws and order than is apparent.


The widespread public concern over the risk of a major oil spill in the Gulf of Paria from the stranded oil-laden FSO Nabarima is an indicator of the growing environmental ­consciousness in this country.

RIGHT now, Trinidad and Tobago is facing a potential catastrophe. No, I don’t mean our unsustainable fixed exchange rate, or our almost bankrupt National Insurance Board, or that there won’t be Carnival next year. I am referring to the oil storage vessel Nabarima which is currently anchored off the coast of Venezuela across the Gulf of Paria.

AT the beginning of his wind-up to the 2020 budget debate, in which the budget statement outlined the measures for fiscal 2021, the Minister of Finance boldly outlined what he indicated were the ideological foundations of his budget statement.

T&T’s borders were closed since March 2020. The Government justified this as containing the spread of Covid-19 and preventing the overburdening of the health system. With our borders closed, we moved into community spread, and adjusted our parallel health system into home quarantine. There is no reason our citizens should continue to be left outside.

On January 8, 2019, I received a letter from the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) advising that my returns for the income years 2013 and 2017 were under examination. I submitted my income tax returns electronically, via e-Tax, they were assessed, approved, and I received my refunds in the mail.