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Sandy, Hinds in heated debate over Police Service

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy and Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday engaged in heated debate on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Hinds argued that the PNM through former national security minister Martin Joseph built a solid foundation for the TTPS which led to its transformation.

Sandy said the PNM was unsuccessful in boosting the morale of the TTPS and also failed at curbing crime in the past eight years.

Hinds kicked off the debate piloting his private motion calling on the House to take note of the strengths and weaknesses of the TTPS.

Hinds elaborated on all the action the PNM administration took in revamping the TTPS from legislative changes to the upgrade of the police training academy.

"I genuinely respect and salute the work of the then senator Martin Joseph, he accomplished a whole lot in terms of putting in place the very indispensable ingredient as I've just described," said Hinds.

"I am told by elements in the Ministry of National Security that absolutely nothing is happening since minister Joseph's departure but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will see," he added.

Hinds said corruption is rampant in law enforcement and Government's failure to deal with this issue is evident that the State of Emergency is useless.

He also knocked Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs, saying "it appears he has not provided the kind of leadership for the police organisation".

Speaking after Hinds, Sandy questioned what the PNM did in the past eight years to deal with crime.

He said the Police Service was demoralised when the former government recruited Penn State University to deal with promotions.

"What we had in essence were foreigners coming and telling us what to do, up to today, there are police officers who are upset," said Sandy.

He said the People's Partnership has been working to deal with crime and in fact has switched off crime and criminal activity.

With respect to corruption in the Police Service, he asked Hinds: "What did you do? It did not start yesterday."

He further questioned whether Hinds was withholding information on such rogue elements.

Sandy said he will not stand and take praise for any success in solving crime but stressed that Hinds was free to do so.

"I am happy that criminal activity continues to subside, I will not take praise for it, I give honour and praise to almighty God and without him we can do nothing," he said. See Page 7

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