Sombre: National Security Minister Jack Warner speaks to ACP Glenda Smith outside the home of murdered police officer Hayden Manwaring in Couva yesterday. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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I wanted to keep my pulse on crime

Jack's reason for not visiting Haiti:

Crime in Trinidad and Tobago is not under control. This is the reason National Security Minister Jack Warner gave yesterday for declining an invitation to attend the Caricom Intercessional Meeting in Haiti.

"The Prime Minister did ask me and I told the Prime Minister that with the level of crime in the country and the fact that there is no minister in my ministry after (Collin) Partap. I wanted to stay here to keep my finger and my pulse on the crime. I couldn't stay in Haiti for three, four, five days and feel comfortable knowing that crime has not been under the control that I want it to be. I have been in Haiti 15 times. What difference will one more make?" he said.

Warner—who yesterday visited the Couva home of slain police sergeant Hayden Manwaring, accompanied by acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and several senior police officers—said Manwaring was a patriotic officer who died the way he had lived in defence of law and order.

"I offer the national community my resolve that we shall bring this State of mayhem to an end at a time when the Police Service is facing all attacks. I spoke to the family and have given the assurance that they shall be taken good care of," he said.

Warner said he expected the process of law would move swiftly against the four men detained. The suspects, ages 23 to 27, are from Princes Town and Tableland.

"There are no words to explain how deeply sorry I am for it, for me as Minister of National Security. The best I can do for Manwaring is to bring back law and order in this country. When that happens, then his life would not have been in vain. If we fail to bring this crime under control, then his life would have been in vain.

"This cannot continue, and what I want to tell you is that we are all in this together. We cannot afford not to bring this scourge down," he said.

Warner said he will attend Manwaring's funeral service next week. He said both Manwaring and his colleague, Nicholas Phillip, were assigned protective gear, but chose not to wear it. "When you are a detective, for example, you don't want people to detect you so they will know you are a police officer; so they chose not to wear them," he said.

—Carolyn Kissoon

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