“I have to admit that when I see some of the blows coming your way via social media I feel hurt, because we as a people either have a very short memory or we do not appreciate what we have,” the President told TTPS officers at their function at the Police Administration Building in Port-of- Spain to toast the nation on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of Independence yesterday.
The event is one of three such national “toasts” hosted by the TTPS, the Fire Services and the Defence Force, that the President attends along with the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and other top state officials, including Parliamentarians and citizens, on Independence Day.
The Opposition Leader did not attend yesterday. The President expressed similar sentiments when he toasted the nation with fire officers at their Wrightson Road Headquarters in the capital yesterday.
Turning to tomorrow’s talks on crime between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the President said, “We hope that upcoming discussions will yield meaningful policy in how we approach the issue of crime.” The President’s remarks yesterday follow an unscheduled meeting between the TTPS hierarchy and the Prime Minister on Tuesday in which Rowley reportedly demanded better results from the police in the battle against crime, and also called on divisional police leaders to take charge of the areas under their respective control.
It also comes just ahead of tomorrow’s talks between Rowley and Persad-Bissessar on a non-partisan approach in dealing with the crime situation.
With the murder toll now standing at 306 for the year thus far, the Rowley/Persad-Bissessar crime meeting has also come amidst cries for better policing, and aims at fostering better relations between the ruling People’s National Movement and the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) in the fight against crime. The meeting which will take place at the Prime Minister’s Office in St Clair, has been welcomed both by Rowley and Persad- Bissessar alike.
Reinforcing his appeal to the country’s leaders not to politicise the issue of crime and criminality in the country, Carmona said, “Crime is not political. All too often we use the United States as a model for progress, we use the US as an example, but I will tell you that during times of crisis, the two political parties in the US, the Democrats and the Republicans, put aside their differences and deal with the issue at hand. We hope that upcoming discussions will yield meaningful policy in how we approach the issue of crime.” Carmona praised members of the Police Service for their efforts over the years and urged members of the public to show greater support and trust in the police.
Recalling his time as a magistrate and prosecutor, Carmona said he has shared a close relationship with police officers and was deeply hurt when they were unjustly criticised by citizens, despite their efforts.
“Being in the criminal justice system for some 20 years, I know the efforts of the police,” the President said at the function.
“I know what they are doing, and despite the perception of some of our public that there are no results or progress in tackling crime, I know the challenges that our officers continue to face.” The President said we can all make a difference in the lives of those we encounter, adding that we need to engage our human aspect when we deal with how we approach our police officers.
Carmona also said despite advances in technology to aid in the fight against crime, maintaining the human element of law enforcement remains crucial to the Police Service.
“As much as we have technology, we need to be innovative in how we approach and how we solve crimes,” Carmona said.
“There are solutions to problems, but we have to engage our intellects to solve these problems.” Acting Superintendent Michael Pierre echoed Carmona’s sentiments and said he was optimistic that tomorrow’s crime talks would prove beneficial.