A properly established Flying Squad, "competently staffed and accounted for is probably a very good strategy in the fight against crime", Independent Senator Helen Drayton said yesterday.
She was speaking on the private motion in the Senate, Tower D, Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, calling on Government to reaffirm its commitment to the principles and the practice of democracy in Trinidad and Tobago.
"I do not hesitate to say that I would be very comfortable as a citizen to know that there is a police Flying Squad given the terrain of our country and the number of bodies that are turning up daily," she said.
She said she believed the nature of National Security meant that some things such as tactical crime plans should be kept confidential and this was not inconsistent with transparency and accountability, but was in keeping with the goal of saving lives.
"A properly established Flying Squad, competently staffed and accounted for is probably a very good strategy in the fight against crime," she said.
But she asked, "How do citizens deal mentally and emotionally with the stench that surrounds mysterious flying apparatus (Flying Squad)? Until there is clarification and hopefully there would be credible clarification, it remains a phantom anti-crime machinery that no one in authority knows about. Yet the police and authorities keep on asking the public to assist them with crime, asking the public to have confidence in the police and the security forces and that is what we are confronted with."
She said there were serious issues in the public domain surrounding the integrity of National Security governance and it is this more than anything else that worries citizens, since we are relying on the hierarchy of National Security to ensure performance at the operational level and to ensure that such performance is in keeping with the principles of democracy;
Drayton also pointed out that in the wake of the murder of the gardener of the Minister of National Security Jack Warner, the population was told that the criminals believed he (the gardener) was an informant.
"Whether that was the case or not..., at the very same time those remarks were made and in the wake of the murder of Sergeant (Hayden) Manwaring, the police chief was pleading with the public to give them information on crime. Now if people feel they will be murdered if they inform the police of what they see and what they hear, then why should they (give information)? How could they have confidence that they would be protected? Citizens' confidence and willingness to do their duty in the fight against crime is directly linked with the performance and the perception of performance of the police and security forces," she stated. —See Page 30