21st Century Policing the Crime Watch Way

Yesterday the Pantomime land up in TV6 to check a friend. Long time I aint pass through the building; and while I was there I observed some thing that I have to share with all yuh....no, not a police raid....something far more insidious than that.

Now everybody know Crime Watch...Ian Alleyne is a national figure....more people know Ian than know Naipaul, Walcott, CLR James, Rudy Capildeo etc (i hearing all yuh asking who?). Give Ian a few months again and people will think he is the father of the nation...feel I lying.

So hear the story....I land up in TV6 and while I waiting to speak and spoke I notice the lobby of the building pack up and choke up with people. Some of them have brown envelopes and folders in their hands and everybody have this worried but resigned and patient look on their face. All man and woman jack look working class....very working class. It was obvious in their dress code and their speech patterns. Because they talking, some in whispers and some louder and it was clear they waiting on somebody to reach. So, eventually one woman walk up to the security guard at about 5:15....I stand up there since 5, and she ask, "Neither he nor his assistants reach yet?" The officer tell her no and she went back to where the group of people waiting  was and continue she vigil. By this time I dying with curiosity so I ask the guard, "Who they waiting on, officer?". He tell me Ian....So I say, "What, he does have a live audience for the show now?" The guard good laugh at me. "No ma'am, they come to make reports".

Now bear patience with me. I doh really follow the show. I watch it a handful of times and does more listen to people talk about Crime Watch than actually watch the show itself. So when I hear "make reports", I had was to dress back...The guard show me the forms people does have to fill out and he start to give me a story, and for me, in a country where billions are allegedly spent on crime fighting equipment, hiring foreign Commissioners of Police and foreign Deputy Commissioners of Police, renting Crop Dusters, buying stain-proof uniforms, refurbishing temporary jails and not detecting clues and solving crimes this story that the guard give me was both disturbing and angering.

Every day from about 1pm people start gathering at TV6 waiting to talk to Ian. Most of them, the guard surmises, are poor people, poor in spirit, poor economically, poor in terms of their education. The guard shows me a copy of the form they have to fill out and it resembles a police report form...with some modifications and Ian's cell phone number at the top. He says to me that most of the people who come to fill out reports need help filling them out because they often cannot read the forms or fill them out properly. So sometimes he has to help them. He indicated too that most people don't understand that Alleyne doesn't work at TV6, he just has a show there on evenings. He says it would help the back log of people if Alleyne had some assistants who could take the reports from the people and pass it on to him, or if he had an office elsewhere that people could go to.

As I stood there listening to his account and listening to the people talk amongst themselves about whatever issue they had come to see Ian about I realised....Alleyne doh want Gibbs wuk...he done have it!

In a country where National security has billions of dollars poured into it, few, if any of us really believe that crime solving is being done by the police and for a large portion of the population who are disenfranchised, voiceless and helpless, Ian Alleyne has become their voice. Now this, I had realised since the time of the alleged rape tape last year, when the feminist posse got themselves into a lather over the airing of the tape on TV, while there were other equally heinous things happening to women in the space that they never once spoke out about (cough cough Tunapuna Hindu Principal cough cough).

But actually seeing the patience, hope and long suffering on the faces in this room had me disturbed. What on earth is our government doing that people don't expect to receive justice from the government, but expect justice from a private citizen? When Ian entered the lobby just before the start of his show the scrambling to touch the hem of the Crime Messiah's garments was painful to observe! Surrounded by his security detail, Alleyne, for all his antics onscreen, certainly exudes some level of authority...and I am afraid that we really need to be afraid in this country.

For months I have been harping on the fact that we have NO CRIME PLAN....the government has not seen fit to ever deliver one to us. No objectives, no strategies, nothing. So, I am beginning to wonder if Kamla. Sandy, Gibbs and An& are hoping that Crime Watch is the crime plan?

In the 21 months and 10 days that they have been in office I haven't felt any confidence in their ability to tackle the crime situation...not even with the farce of a SoE that had petty and serious crime continuing under curfew and round- the-clock surveillance (allegedly).

To be faced with this crowd in TV6's lobby showed me just how impotent and incompetent this Govt really is. It's major campaign promise to us - the fixing of crime - they have failed at...unequivocally. There is no coming back from that failure, not even if they impose a perpetual SoE on the country.

It  occurred to me as I stood there watching the crowd surround Alleyne, that with the change in Govt, I have in fact received no change in quality of life. I cannot find three ways in which the policies of this current government has improved or enhanced my quality of life. I cannot find 3 promises this government made in its manifesto that it has kept.

I have to come to terms now with the reality that if I am a victim of crime in Trinidad and Tobago and want to see any real action on it, I don't go to my local police station....instead, I must go down to TV 6 and fill out a Crime Watch report!

Doh Hot Yuh Head...He go hunt them down! This is 21st Century policing People's Partnership style!