Kid napping in a manger
this time of year, we celebrate the birth of the Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, who as the story goes, was Away
in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay
down his sweet head.
The unfortunate reality of life here in T&T, is that our
celebration of the Jesus kid, napping in a manger, is marred
by the real and actual crime of kidnapping, which has once
again reared its ugly head on the landscape of the nation,
or as some quite correctly say, might have been locked away
for some time, but has never really gone away.
With no word at the time of this writing, on the release or
safe return of Vindra Naipaul, to her family and loved ones,
it has cast a pall over the Christmas celebrations for many,
with people once again speaking of looking to pack up and
migrate to what they consider to be safer countries.
No one can imagine the horror, trauma and anguish that families
and loved ones have to go through during the horror and ordeal
of dealing with a kidnapping and if it is one thing that is
surely on the Christmas wish list for the majority of right-thinking
individuals in the nation, it is that we will eliminate the
scourge of kidnapping for the coming year.
It is something which stresses out, agonises and terrorises
the entire nation. You are afraid to go out, you are cautious
when you return home, never knowing who is lurking in the
dark waiting to pounce on you.
Your social life is affected, your family life is affected,
your nerves are frayed and shattered and you become in many
cases, a victim of your own hard work and success, to the
point where some folks buy old foreign used cars in order
to move around incognito.
But these kidnappers are not fooled by this, they usually
seem to have their information quite accurate and often seem
to be very well organised and efficient running a tight effective
Now it has not all gone the kidnappers way and we need
not feel as if all hope is lost. It is a fact that there has
been a significant reduction in kidnappings for ransom from
58 last year down to about 19 this year.
While this gives us some light at the end of the tunnel, it
is certainly not a reason to sit back and relax, because if
there have been 19 or 20 kidnappings for this year so far,
then that is 19 or 20 too many.
The Bail Bill, which was introduced by the Government, has
undoubtedly played its part in helping to stem the tide. And
the role which the Opposition played initially, and which
the Congress of the People played recently, in ensuring that
this legislation came to lifeand remained in forcewas
laudable because it showed that they were willing to put country
first before narrow, partisan political agendas.
Glimmer of hope
There is also some glimmer of hope in that the ransom demands
are down in that last year, there was a total of $71 million
in ransom as opposed to about $18 million demanded this year.
Of this figure, the official records show that only about
$400,000 has actually been paid out. As the AKS and Suatt
hone their skills and become more adept at dealing with these
criminals, they are able to bring more pressure on them and
break down their demands but all of this is ex post facto.
The point is that we need to be proactive instead of just
being reactive. It surely cannot be that there are thousands
and thousands of kidnapping gangs out there. This is not Mexico
City or Colombia! It has to be a pretty small cadre of criminals
out there who are organising and masterminding these kidnappings!
Who are these people? What do they do on a daily basis? Where
are they hiding? Are they really hiding? Or are some of them
out in the open where we see them on a daily basis and we
just dont recognise them for who they are?
We have seen with the recent court cases that some of them
are hiding among the ranks of the Police Service itself as
in the case of the Rishi Permanand kidnapping. How do we guard
ourselves against the very guards who are supposed to be guarding
us whose motto is To Protect and Serve?
How do we guard ourselves against so many of these security
guards when so many of the guards are themselves in touch
It can really present quite a depressing and frightening scenario
as you enter your home, castle, abode, palace or manger to
lay down your sweet head because kidnappers who bear no goodwill
toward men are disrupting peace on this little part of our
But there has been some progress, in the year 2004, there
were 28 kidnappings for ransom out of which 27 persons were
charged. In 2005, there were 58 kidnappings for ransom out
of which some 78 persons were arrested and charged, but clearly
there is a whole lot more that needs to be done.
We need to see pre-emptive strikes taking place on the part
of the police. We need to see them actively monitoring and
targeting the kidnappers the same way the kidnappers monitor
and target their victims.
They dont give up. They are relentless in the pursuit
of their victims. The same way we need to have our police
stalking and monitoring the known kidnappers and having them
under 24-hour surveillance.
Let them start to feel the heat for once. Let them know what
it is like to be monitored and watched all the time.
Let them know that we are going to strike first and take them
out before they can attack our women and children. Let them
know that the fathers, sons and husbands of this nation are
no longer going to sit back and wait to be picked off like
Let them know that for 2007 our strongest hope and desireand
a goal which I am sure the Government will strive to work
hard to achieveis that there should be no more kidnapping
in this manger; this cradle of the earth; this beloved land
of ours called Trinidad and Tobago.