T&T is under lockdown! Hours after the Government appointed Canadian Dwayne Gibbs as this country's new Commissioner of Police a 24-hour lockdown has gone into effect throughout T&T. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the People's Partnership Local Government launch at Mid Centre Mall on Friday. The lockdown, Persad-Bissessar said, is a stringent joint force comprising heavy police and army presence targeting criminal elements on weekends. The lockdown commenced at 5 pm on Friday and is expected to continue until a dent is seen in the escalating crime situation. The forceful measures Persad-Bissessar said had become necessary given the criminals non-stop approach. Statistics, the prime minister revealed, showed that up until June 26 of this year there was a total of 9,665 crimes and only 1,388 were solved.
The figure, Persad-Bissessar said, represented a minuscule 17 per cent of crimes detected for the first six months of the year. "Crimes are increasing and the detection rate is falling. We have seen the statistics and we have noticed on weekends those evil elements come out. When these criminal elements come out the murders are increasing. Police officers and soldiers will be deployed throughout the weekend as far as we can sustain, the Prime Minister vowed. The move, however, Persad-Bissessar said, is only part of the three-part plan that is aimed at getting rid of the criminal elements targeting society. The Prime Minister further revealed that Government is also moving to fill the 1,500 vacancies looming within the Police Service for the past four years.
"We are going to advertise and recruit retired police and Defence Force officers immediately. They will sit and instruct from the offices and the young ones will go out on the beat. We must beef up security forces and we are also moving to expedite the quality of new recruits coming into the service." In addition, Persad-Bissessar said, Government is also moving to put into place anti-gang legislation and to make an amendment to the Bail Act. "Those charged with gang-related offences would not be able to get bail when those two pieces of legislation are reviewed," she added.
2005- 17,989 6 per cent
2006- 19,565 24 per cent
2007- 19,661 23 per cent
2008- 20,566 17 per cent
2009- 22,161 17 per cent
2010- 9,665 14 per cent
NB: The per cent figure represents the numbers of crimes detected
Kamla to Gibbs:
Perform or ship out
Meanwhile, Persad-Bissessar said if Gibbs did not perform he will be fired. Twenty five MPs voted for Gibbs to assume the position of top cop on Friday, while the Opposition opted to abstain from voting.
Defending the decision Persad-Bissessar said: "Should he not perform he comes on contract. In the contract there are benchmarks of performance and if you do not perform fire you. If you do not perform ship out. Maybe it is not the best; maybe it is best only time will tell."