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Weeding out the rogues
T&T crossed a grim milestone on Sunday when Chinese businessman Qumehlanj Cao became the 201st murder victim for the year.
Ironically, even with the body count rising at a disturbing rate, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams took the opportunity over the weekend to appeal for the public and media to focus on more positives in the T&T Police Service (TTPS). His comments, coming just days after successive incidents which showed the TTPS in a very negative light, certainly did nothing to rebuild badly eroded public confidence in that institution.
Then there was the revelation yesterday that members of the elite Strategic Services Agency (SSA) have been monitoring the activities of police officers over the past six months, reportedly in an effort to crack down on illegal activities in the ranks. This is yet another level of scrutiny, along with the Professional Standards Bureau and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), which should be able to identify all the rogue elements and weed them out quickly.
But there is a view that surveillance on suspect cops by the SSA, which has police officers among its intelligence-gathering personnel, will be of little or no effect. Only time will tell.
The latest credit rating on T&T by Moody’s Investor Services includes a stable outlook for the economy. However, while the assessment is more positive than the country has enjoyed in recent times, significant challenges remain, key among them the levels of debt.
In the quest for economic stability and sustainability, prudent fiscal management should remain the priority. The focus should be on boosting revenue and building capacity of the non-energy sectors where, according to Moody’s, growth remains sluggish.
As has been said so often before, T&T must be weaned from its heavy dependence on energy revenue, where swings in output and production can cause our economic fortunes to swing very quickly from feast to famine.
The rating agency’s advice about maintaining the health of the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund also needs to be heeded along with its warnings about downward pressure on the exchange rate.
Continuing in its tradition of celebrating excellence in various spheres, the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards of Excellence inducted four more laureates at a gala event in Kingston, Jamaica, on Sunday night. William Andrew Boyle (Guyana); Noel and Chevaughn Joseph (T&T); Kei Miller (Jamaica) and Dr Adesh Ramsubagh (T&T), now take their place on an impressive list of past winners that includes Professor Liam Teague, Dr Lennox Honychurch and Rhonda Maingot.
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