Setting records straight on police survey
a story headlined Cops under microscope in the Sunday Guardian
of April 24, your reporter stated that one Prof Mastrofski
of George Mason University is paid $5.7 million for a 12-month
period, and that one of his recommendations is for policemen
to undergo a survey next month on matters of police
All that may be all right, but when your reporter stated that
sources said the survey was the first of its kind in
T&T, we, quite reluctantly, feel obliged to clarify
this and a few related matters for the benefit of the public.
We feel compelledafter in-house consultationto
break our discreet silence in this particular instance.
The director of the UWI Centre for Criminology and Criminal
Justice in November-December 2001 was invited to conduct a
rather comprehensive sample survey of all ranks of the Police
Service with the support of then Police Commissioner Hilton
Guy, the Minister of National Security and the Office of the
Designed as an empirical basis for improving police integrity,
discipline and work performance, this 2001 survey examined
officers views on the strengths and weaknesses of their police
organisation, the viability of community policing, job satisfaction,
crime management, and a set of core policing issues, including,
of course, police integrity and discipline.
The report titled A Human Resource Survey of Policing and
Organisational Readiness in the Trinidad and Tobago Police
Service was formally presented to Commissioner Hilton Guy
in the presence of his executive officers on August 13, 2002.
The results and 14 recommendations were accepted as a means
of following up on a number of policing, human resource and
organisational issues. Implementation lapsed. Apparently,
nothing was followed up. Maybe the Prime Minister and his
two crime advisers are unaware of all this.
It is, therefore, a symptom of what is happening in the Police
Service when in the same story your reporter quoted a
member of the police executive who spoke as if he or
she never knew about this 2001 survey or the 240-page report
submitted to the Police Commissioner and other officials in
It would appear that certain senior policemen have been instructed
to follow these George Mason consultants around, but when
it comes to over-extended public relations, these policemen
should know where the line is.
Why is the source of such information so anonymous? Is it
public relations officer of the Police Service, Ann Mari Grant?
Who is the member of the police executive? Is
it ACP Winston Cooper?
If the project is a professional, approved one, why the anonymous
For the record and public benefit, here are some brief results
from that police survey done three years ago. We present only
a few relevant ones.
o Fifty per cent of the officers surveyed (600) felt the public
was dissatisfied with the performance of the Police Service;
o 47 per cent said that their supervisors do not help in developing
their skills and abilities;
o 20 per cent said that the use of excessive force is a great
problem in the service;
o 31 per cent said that there is a great tendency for officers
to cover up the faults of other officers;
o 12 per cent said that drug abuse is a great problem in the
o 44 per cent said that alcoholism is a great problem in the
o 45 per cent said that disciplinary procedures in the service
o 85 per cent said police work was very stressful.
It is a pity that these results and the attendant recommendations
for the positive way forward were left high and dry.
Maybe Vidia Naipaul or Franz Fanon has the answer.
Senior research assistant
to get our priorities right
governments have been clueless about the continuing escalation
of crime in our nation. They would have you believe that it
was imported from abroad. The fact is that we are relatively
new at running a Government and/or governmental institutions,
as we are less than 50 years old. So, we are still practising.
One must be cognisant that government officials are from among
the masses and while much is expected of them, a society that
is still mired in tribalism finds it difficult to emerge effectively
and efficiently from the throes of chaotic social behaviour.
Our nation is not made up of entirely stupid individuals.
We have a bit of everything from the good to the bad and indifferent.
The problem here is that what is needed does not come from
the top. Their examples foster a predatory and reactionary
approach to matters that warrant human considerations. In
fact, it is difficult to determine where the element of accountability
begins or ends.
Crime escalates and nobody knows why. Our infrastructure rots
and nobody knows why. The capital city can best be described
as a rotting shell of its old self and nobody knows why. As
the wealth from our natural resources increases, the decomposition
of human life increases and nobody knows why. And the list
It appears as though honest, capable and competent people
continue to shy away from Government and as a result, we end
up with less than the best. We have always been a corrupt
society which predates Independence and that component is
now leading us to ruin.
Statistically, I believe that those individuals who make up
the overwhelming number of those murdered have been regarded
as disposables. Had that not been the case, long-term solutions
to the problems affecting them would have been enacted aeons
We pay much attention to mas, fete, bacchanal and the cultural
lime in which our raw genius emerges.
The legacy that we market abroad is that we are a happy, fun-loving
people and I would argue that the same could be said of imprisoned
animals residing in a zoo. It is time to get our priorities
Errol F Hosein
to the consumer abuse
I find it distastefulnot to mention the fact that it
is illegalthat organisations in T&T are not penalised
for false advertising.
A food chain giant in England, which also has representation
in T&T, was penalised for actually advertising their burger
at a larger size in television commercials.
Similarly, I got all hyped after seeing an ad by a particular
store which clearly states: Buy one item and get a related
item for half price.
After leaving my area to visit one of the stores, thinking
I would have a larger variety from which to choose my related
item, the sales rep tells me, Its on selected
Nowhere was this stated in the ad.
Could the Consumer Affairs Division do something about this
Lets not forget Pixie
From time to time society reaches junctions and crossroads
where decisions taken and corners turned influence the lives
of generations to come.
The horrendous and senseless death of teenager Radha Pixie
Lakhan serves as such an example.
Never must we as a people forget the tragic events surrounding
Never must we allow another innocent child, (or person) to
endure a similar fate.
We must act now to take such measures which will serve as
reminders now and in the future.
May I start by suggesting the renaming of Spring Trace Siparia,
(or another appropriate road), the Radha Pixie Lakhan Road,
so that long after we are gone, the memory and story of this
young girl will go on.
May she rest in peace.
Dr M Jaggernauth
Costaatt lecturer confusing students
This is an urgent plea to the community at large to assist
in doing something about the horrendous situation experienced
I am a enrolled in the IT programme at Costaatt. Programming
is a necessary class in this programme. There are several
programming classes that one must take. Most of these classes
are lectured by one individual.
The classes are disjointed, confusing, and riddled with contradictions
by the lecturer himself.
Listening to this man is akin to reading about war and peace,
Powers that be within Costaatt admit that while some have
complained, the complainants are too few to warrant any sort
of action against this tenured professional, who
supposedly went through a stringent hiring process before
getting his present job.
They admit that essentially, nothing can be done, also due
to the fact that this man teaches several classes, and apparently
T&T is short on lecturers with the desired skills to replace
him at this time.
Complaints against this lecturer have been rising for at least
the past four semesters, with no action being taken other
than to alienate the students who speak up; they are branded
troublemakers, and students who are essentially not smart
enough to keep up.
I beg anyone in the relevant offices to look into this matter.
Speak with any student in the IT programme. This lecturer
has no empathy, especially for those young students who travel
from as far away as Point Fortin, Fyzabad, Siparia and Rio
Claro to get to PoS by 8.30 am, to sit and learn nothing.
Pure politispeakfrom Manning
Surely, the quote of the week has got to be the recent grand
charge made by T&Ts PM.
Minister Patrick Manning says his Government is prepared to
lock down the entire country if necessary to deal with the
Trinidad has had major crime problems for two decades now,
perhaps longer. Now all of a sudden hes prepared to
lock everything down in order to solve this everlasting problem.
Im sure the upright citizens of T&T could and would
put up with a few days of hardship to regain their once-lawful
And so, dear Mr PM, just give us a weeks notice, so
we can stock our kitchens with enough food, and then you may
indeed lock down the entire country, and lets weed out
the bad Johns.
We can stand the grind in order to achieve real progress.
What a shame all of this is just bluster.
Will it ever happen?
Very likely not.
This is pure politispeak.
Even this writer, as a simple-minded Bajan resident, knows
it when he sees it.
As Caricom citizens generally, we call your bluff, sir!
Discrimination creeping up
I wish to bring to the publics attention the matter
of age discrimination that has been creeping up in our society.
Recently, I applied to a credit union for a loan to make a
trip to attend my grandsons wedding.
I applied for $2,800 but was granted only $1,200. The reason
given: I am too old.
At 78 years of age, I am just as old as Pope Benedict XVI.
He was chosen over younger cardinals to administer to 1.1
Where is the justification for denying my request?
God willing, I am going to outlive those who denied my loan