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Police failing in crime fight

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Agriculture minister:

A Cabinet minister yesterday said the police was part of a critical failing of the criminal justice system in T&T.

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat made the statement during his contribution to yesterday’s Senate debate on a bill to establish a system of plea bargaining and plea discussion in T&T.

The bill was presented by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Faris Al-Rawi.

It seeks to establish a system plea bargaining to clear up the backlog of criminal cases.

Rambharat said he was concerned about the level of crime in the country. He said he felt powerless when he saw a photo in the newspaper of a teenaged girl displaying her uncontrollable grief after her father was gunned down.

“We ought to do better,” adding that, “we need to fix the criminal justice system.”

Rambharat said he “felt powerless that (there wasn’t) anything I can do (that) will have an impact on the criminal justice system.”

Rambharat said there was the “bureaucracy that over time has failed to step up to give effect to what the Parliament has done and that is the true failing, whether it is the court, the Police Service.”

He said he was “not a fan of the TTPS. Every time I pass police officers, the police canteen, the (Police) barracks and I see the police vehicles parked up there, used, unused, salvaged, destroyed, whatever. I know that the TTPS forms part of a critical failing in the criminal justice system.”

The minister referred to the recent murders of two Chinese nationals in Marabella, adding that the killer was “somebody so brazen to fire shots and go twice and reload and return (as was shown in video footage of the killings).”

Rambharat said that “can happen to anyone of us.”

He said no one was against the system of plea bargaining but insisted it had not worked here because criminals had no real fear of conviction.

Rambharat said he was the father of three children. He gave their ages and said he was “extremely worried about where we are and the urgency of fixing this thing we constantly talk about, the criminal justice system.”

He said the one good thing coming out of the Tropical Storm Bret which passed over T&T on Monday night, was that it “would stop crime for a few hours in this country.”

Three men were shot dead near John John basketball court, in East Port-of-Spain hours before the storm struck.

Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen, who spoke after Rambharat, said the Opposition was in support of the legislation. He insisted, however, the criminal elements in T&T should be wiped out.


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