Fred Brooks, in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month, said “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”.

Omitting the word “software” from the observation, unfortunately, conveys the distinct possibility that crime will continue unabated in Trinidad and Tobago.

How many foreigners, from policemen to professors, have been engaged to fight crime? Yet crime continues to escalate. Why?

Symptoms are being treated and not the root causes. It seems that the media, “so-called experts” from higher-learning institutions, psychologists, criminologists, non-governmental organisations and the general public are all looking at crime from its manifestations rather than its source, which is critical for dealing with it.

They have provided ideas and suggestions repeatedly, but to no avail. The initiative by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, together with the United States Embassy, the Pan American Development Foundation and other law enforcement agencies to create an entity called GRACE, to deal with Gang Reduction and Community Enhancement, is most commendable.

The issue remains, however, what happens to “orphaned members” of gangs? Will they be naturally attracted to other gangs? Will there be fewer but larger gangs? What are the actionable plans to remediate former gang members?

Whilst there is merit in accepting assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies, what is being done to address the root causes of crime or gang membership?

There are many facets of crime such as white collar, property, organised, high-tech and violent, which manifest in the alarming number of murders, whether gang-related or not.

Many, including politicians, attorneys, judges and policemen, have been victims of crime, yet the focus seems to be on “getting the criminals or decreasing crime”.

Who or which entity has been championing the root cause of it?

Unless the risk factors that cause crime are pursued, the crime situation remains “spinning top in mud”. Will there be a fall from grace?

“Forever and a day”, different governments have been touting they have a plan to tackle crime. The existing Government was elected into office for spouting its potential proposal for addressing crime.

Clearly the proposal was very deficient because crime continues unabated.

Blaming others does not obviate the crime problem, but instead reveals the truth about the blamer, someone who can do no wrong!

Where are the relevant university lecturers, criminologists, religious institutions, non-governmental organisations, Judiciary, attorneys and media houses?

Are the media simply happy with focusing on statistics and sensationalism rather than pursuing the root cause of crime?

Almost all criminals “belong” to one of the entities in the Inter-Religious Organisation. What has this entity done in reaching out to its followers?

Without action, no number of laws, theses and engaging foreign law enforcement agencies will mitigate crime.

There are numerous reports on dealing with crime but how serious has been any government to implement all or some of the recommendations?

Talking about crime, providing statistics, speaking about demographics and not focusing on its root causes are simply time-wasting, at best.

The acting Commissioner of Police has suggested that only six gangs out of an estimated total of 134 are responsible for the spate of murders. So, are these six the most important and fearsome?

Are the other 128 gangs pursuing other criminal initiatives?

A late minister of national security had suggested there were approximately 500 gangs, so have they been reduced to 134?

A former minister and late prime minister said big businesses and influential people are the ones behind criminal activity, so why weren’t they pursued by the then-government?

How serious are social service entities regarding parental responsibility and family issues? There are myriad complaints about the Judiciary. Has it thrown its hands in the air regarding its role in addressing criminality?

The Judiciary must articulate how it will address matters of the court, including night court, tele­conferencing as a key element of trials, and serious enforcement of different types of courts for different types of offences.

How serious is it in addressing unreasonable delays or requests for postponement of matters? Absolutely key in its plan must be shortening the time for matters to be called, and for judges and magistrates to give their judgment in a most timely manner.

Where is the effort in providing greater focus on building trust between the service and community?

Far greater use of intelligence must be apparent in ­identifying and arresting gang members and white-collar criminals, and prosecuting them successfully in the courts.

GRACE is most welcome and necessary for dealing with gangs, but who is advocating for addressing the root causes of crime?

It seems that though GRACE has been initiated, it may be just another distraction to hoodwink the population that something is being done to address crime.

Or, is it the hope that crime will continue unabated because there are so many entities that exist because of it?

Is criminal negligence now an aspect of governance, or will crime now be addressed ­GRACEfully?

Harjoon Heeralal

Carapichaima

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