Trinidad and Tobago
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UNC wants JSC meeting on police gear in crimes


UNC Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial – File photo/Angelo Marcelle

AS there continues to be instances where the uniforms or weapons of members of the protective services are used to commit crimes, the UNC has written to the joint select committee (JSC) on National Security to have a meeting to discuss it.

This was announced at a UNC press conference in Port of Spain on Wednesday.

Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial, a member of the committee, asked: “Where are we going as a country when at the source, at the commission of the offence, we cannot have faith and confidence in the State?”

She said while she was not condemning all members of the protective services, there are “a few bad apples in the barrel…And this is what we are getting as a result.”

She said nothing will change unless this issue is tackled, adding that we are in a “very bad place” as a country.

In recent months, bullets belonging to the TT regiment were found at crime scenes, robberies were carried out by people dressed in police uniforms, among other things.

In the Opposition’s letter to the chairman of the JSC, government MP Keith Scotland, it said, “We wish we could believe that the country’s national security managers are deeply concerned about this issue, and are honing in on the underground industry that has developed around a trade in police and army property. However, after years of inaction, it would be foolish to believe that it is even on their radar.

“It is becoming painfully obvious that the low detection rate and the inability to stem the flow of arms and ammunition into the hands of criminals can be attributed to the complicity of members of the law enforcement agencies who are enabling criminals to not just commit crimes, but are making it easier for them to lure their intended targets with the use of police and regimental uniforms and other paraphernalia.”

It said it is critical for the committee to make enquiries into the matter and make recommendations to resolve it.

“We are therefore drawing the matter to your attention and requesting that the acting Commissioner of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff and relevant law enforcement personnel be summoned to a meeting to answer questions by members of the Committee on this matter.”

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Lutchmedial said Scotland has since acknowledged receipt.

Opposition MP Rodney Charles called on the Prime Minister to say whether he is satisfied with the performance of National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

“Don’t duck, don’t hide,” he said.

He said the state of affairs in this country when it comes to crime is appalling and shameful, adding that, “We are in deep trouble.”

He questioned if members of the protective services are being properly recruited and effectively managed.