What sense would it make?
headlines in Thursdays newspapers just about summed
up the sad state of our nation today.
The murder of Hope Arismandez captured front page, whilst
the dropping of serious charges of grievous sexual assault
on a 12-year-old girl, which occurred in July, 2006, was buried
deep into the more mundane news.
Yes, many of you may have missed it, but Nigel Julien, a construction
worker of Cantaro Village in Santa Cruz, walked free after
the witnesses for the prosecution failed to show.
Mind you, Julien is no stranger to this kind of crime: he
is also on bail awaiting trial for the rape of another minor.
He was committed to stand trial for that matter last year.
Do you think the State would be able to secure a conviction
when this second rape case eventually comes up for hearing
before a judge and jury?
Very few of us would be optimistic.
What no one realises, of course, is that we all failed this
little12-year-old girl. The men charged for the murder/rape
of Amy Anamunthodo and Hope Arismandez may end up walking,
too, unless the Government pumps the much-needed resources
into the administration of the criminal justice system and
modernise some aspects of our criminal procedure to speed
up the delivery of justice.
(In the UK, for example, lengthy preliminary enquiries have
been effectively abolished for some time now).
Of course, no court will ever set free the men who raped and
murdered Radha Pixie Lakhan, Rebekah Sugrim and
This is so because no one has ever been arrested and charged
for the crimes committed against these children.
These men are roaming the streets freely, possibly looking
for a new victim.
Should the DNA lab not come before the PMs palace, the
Tarouba stadium or the performing arts centre? What has become
of the swabs taken from these children? Have they been destroyed?
Our beloved invisible Minister of National Security refused
to comment on Hopes death.
He referred the media to the equally-inept Police Commissioner
Trevor Paul, who managed to express sympathy.
Bear in mind that Mr Paul is the man whose performance, as
police commissioner, in supervising the unprecedented levels
of crime we now endure so impressed the Government, that it
extended his term of office beyond his resignation date.
And while our sons and daughters are being raped and murdered,
the Police Service Commission shamelessly puts paid full-page
advertisements in the media to remind us of how far off it
is from selecting a replacement for Paul.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, quite rightly, reminded us about the
Governments clever response to the public outrage that
followed the death of four-year-old Amy Annamunthodo.
Manning appointed a commission of enquiry (of sorts). That
report from the Justice Monica Barnes Commission has never
been made public.
Imagine John Public paying for reports that the Government
apparently ignores, while children continue to die in the
same manner as Amy and Faith Williams!
Heinous crimes against children cannot be taken in isolation.
It is a symptom of the larger crime crisis. Criminals know
they are large and in charge.
Simple robbery developed into robbery with violence, and then
escalated into armed robbery with violence, until it reached
the present epidemic of armed robbery with violence and sexual
Criminals are no longer content to simply rob victims; they
sometimes cook in the kitchen, drink out their beers, and
take turns raping the daughters and wives.
The rape is oftentimes kept a secret by the victims
Since the series I did on the brutal sexual torture and rape
of female kidnap victims, I often receive visits from distraught
The emotional burden of these visits from families, whose
daughters have been raped during robberies, is far too heavy
for my shoulders.
They have to deal with the festering wound their collective
silence has created. It has ripped apart relationships and
created unimaginable rifts between daughters and helpless
fathers and mothers, while the bandits continue to enjoy the
easy life of robbing and raping with impunity.
Imagine being so scared of criminals that you are forced to
hide the rape of your own child.
That is the stage we have reached in T&T.