Unleash dogs of war

These strong words came from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as she said that while allegations are being made against police for killing civilians, investigations must be done into such deaths.

“A lot has been written and said about police killings. There is heated debate about it, there are charges of extra judicial penance by the police. Where there are allegations of injustice by the Police Service, an independent and proper investigation must be conducted and should there be evidence of abuse or guilt, those officers or offenders will face the full brunt of the law,” the PM said during the formal launch of the new Piarco Police Station yesterday.

Persad-Bissessar said her Government would not tolerate rogue officers, adding that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and other agencies dealing with police misconduct, “have their work cut out for them.”

For the year so far, there have been 26 persons killed at the hands of the police. The latest victims were cousins Tevin and Hakeem Alexander who were shot by police in Morvant on Monday for which there have been contradicting reports from both police and relatives of the deceased.

Persad-Bissessar urged citizens not to jump to conclusions and not lay blame. “I have more than a passing interest on the number of people shot and some killed by police officers. It shudders me to think of anyone, no matter how misguided or cruel, losing their lives regardless how justified it might have been, it is tragic.

“But at the same time I do not see a list of the number of police officers who have been shot at. I have not seen the list of the number of police officers injured and killed. We must see the other side of the picture, we cannot just see one side,” Persad-Bissessar urged.

The PM said she was told that 63 members of the Police Service, men and women, were victims of shootings with intent and wounding in the last two years. Some, she said, have been killed.

She reminded the gathering of other police officers and members of the National Security Ministry that most members of the Police Service also had families of their own.

She recalled one officer saying, “They can shoot at me, but I am going home to my wife tonight.

She said it was a poignant reminder that police officers are family members too. “There are those who have been under attack while serving the citizens on the country. I am prepared to commit every resource possible, explore all options available in insuring we reclaim our country from the criminals,” Persad-Bissessar said.


"Unleash dogs of war"

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