The Minister of National Security, Jack Warner, has, just this afternoon issued a gag on crime statistics being released by the Police Service to the Media.
While we wait on a response from MATT, I want to share with you a post from a blogger on FB, Mr Christian Hume:
The PR stunts are finally catching up with embattled Minister of National Security Jack Warner. In the face of his boast of "not one murder in Laventille", unfortunately, people are still being killed there - informal lock down of the area not withstanding. I actually felt sorry for Larry Howai when he repeated that nonsense to a chorus of government desk-thumping during the budget presentation. You see, if there is one place where "numbers don't lie", its in the truthful reporting of crime statistics.
All talk aside, at the end of the day, crime statistics, and homicide statistics in particular, are the only meaningful barometer by which any Minister of National Security in Trinidad and Tobago will be adjudged to have succeeded or failed - just ask Martin Joseph. On the last two occasions when the PNM lost power in 1995 and again in 2010, the problem of crime was front and centre, the recriminations having been particularly harsh in the two years leading up to the 2010 defeat - crime figures spiralling out of control despite a succession of management intiatives by then MONS Martin Joseph - management initiatives that are now being acknowledged as being on the road to bearing rich fruit down the road, despite their limited immediate impact.
Fast forward to now, and the crime/homicide statistics show absolutely no sign of being moved by the attention seeking antics of Mr.Warner - gallerying himself on TV every night with a home visit here, a speech there, a strong warning to the criminals everywhere; his latest boast of "not one murder in Laventille" having been ripped to shreds by another murder yesterday. Now, on top of the firewalling of police crime statistics on the internet, comes word of an apparently official instruction by the Minister to the police to not share crime statistics with the media.
The clouds are gathering. It is now overcast, and if things continue the way they seem to be shaping up, very soon only two men will stand between the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the despotic reign of terror that is being threatened. These two men are Commissioner of Police (Ag.) Stephen Williams and his erstwhile deputy, Mervyn Richardson. As for Defence Force Chief of Staff Kenrick Maharaj, I have already given up on him. I sincerely hope to be proven wrong on that score.
Will Williams and Richardson fly in the face of the rich tradition of democratic expression and free flow of information that has sustained us as a country for so long by capitulating to the chants of this madman?? And if they do so on this occasion, will they also do so when he instructs them to cease and desist not just from reporting crime statistics, but from reporting all crime at all?? And what about when he instructs them to deny police permission to march as citizens become more and more disenchanted?? What will they do then??
You see, the resolve of military commanders is the difference between Egypt and Syria - two countries where the people rose up in legitimate protest, decades of pent up frustration having finally boiled over. In the former, army commanders went against the orders of president Mubarak and refused to fire upon Egyptian citizens. Their revolution ended in a peacful transfer of power, Mubarak having to simply resign and go. Today for the first time in its history, Egypt is governed by a government that reflects the will of its people, the Muslim Brotherhood winning a nail-bitingly close election. In the latter country, the military commanders have taken the side of President Assad and are mercilessly mowing down Syrian citizens, resulting in an ongoing and bloody civilian conflict almost two years on - the country falling to pieces with each passing day - the rebels having decided that they will simply not resign and go as the people if Iran did in the face of a police crackdown on popular uprising some years ago.
Commissioners Williams and Richardson, I humbly beseech you to take stock of your duty to the people of this nation, and be willing to stand up to Madman Jack when the time comes, for it will come, if it is not here already. Taking orders from your "boss" is one thing, but when those orders are designed to edge us ever closer into the abyss of a police state, destroying the fabric of a country that we are trying so hard to build, I trust and sincerely hope that you will not stand for it, whatever the threatened professional consequences may be. Stand up for your country gentlemen, a country in whose service you were employed long before this madman arrived on the scene, a country who will forever be grateful to you long after he leaves.