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Madness !!!
IN a brazen mid afternoon attack on a police station, gunmen killed two men and wounded an officer yesterday.
Christlyn: Marijuana for THA votes
TOBAGONIANS are receiving marijuana in exchange for votes in an attempt to undermine Monday’s Tobago House Assembly (THA) election.
Murdered schoolgirl given fairytale send-off
SHE was a joy, a leader, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend...now she is just a name and an unsolved mystery with no clue as to who snuffed out the life of 16-year-old schoolgirl Rachael Ramkissoon.
Archbishop tells women to demand respect
ROMAN CATHOLIC Archbishop Joseph Harris says women have to demand respect by their way of being.
Women and crime: a real anxiety in T&T
Published: 
Friday, January 20, 2017

The murder of Shannon Banfield in December, 2016 created somewhat of a nationwide panic and generated much talk about the safety of women in T&T. Women seem to be in the spotlight even more of lately as prime targets for violent crime. Perhaps the general anxiety of our society on this issue stems from our inclination to believe that women should not be associated with anything negative. Therefore, gruesome murders, kidnappings, rape and other violent encounters tamper with the ideology of femininity, notwithstanding the fact that it opposes even the idea of humanity.

Consequently, our society now seems more guarded about its female population. Since this unfortunate incident, there has even been heightened alertness, somewhat bordering on paranoia about women venturing into Port-of-Spain or to recreational activities throughout the country by themselves. Many women nowadays receive quite a number of telephone calls and in-person warnings from friends and family cautioning them about venturing out alone following the aforementioned murder.

Controversy theories claimed that Ms Banfield’s pretty face and complexion are what spurred the popularity of her death. To others, this argument lacks depth and cannot be sustainable. Let us consider the circumstances surrounding her death: the fact that she walked into a store with the supposed intention of shopping, a very common thing to do and never walked out, later being discovered in said establishment, murdered. That could have been the fate of any woman, as Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain is a popular shopping destination.

On thinking about the current state of affairs regarding women and crime, this anxiety is not at all unwarranted, given recent incidents—the most recent being the murder of an eager young woman (Rachael Ramkissoon) taking an alternative travel option to secondary school after missing her usual mode of transportation.

These incidents not only leave us with anxiety and a lack of confidence in ensuring our safety as women in our daily activities, but bring to the fore the changing scope of crime against women in our country.

Previously, crime against women was highlighted mainly within the context of domestic violence. Women as victims of domestic violence is still a very relevant and prominent concern. However, women are now also being featured as victims of crime with no relation to domestic affairs. The disappearance of the hairdresser from South Trinidad last year (Ria Sookdeo) with little information to date on her whereabouts, is featured as proof of this ongoing change.

Observing these crime patterns raises several questions. The question of police efforts to restore confidence in the female population on their safety in carrying about their daily lives, is a key one. There has been some assurance from the police that Port-of-Spain is safe for conducting regular activities after a suspect was charged in connection with the murder of the Shannon Banfield.

The fact that many of us are still very anxious about our female counterparts venturing out alone is a clear indication that full trust regarding safety has not been restored in the public domain. Perhaps forming a committee charged with the responsibility of examining crimes against women and creating a policy to treat specifically with the current crisis may be a good option to effect change in the country on this matter.

The recent spate of crimes against women has even led some to question whether there are undetected serial killers in our country. Our culture of revelry usually causes us to cast aside such suggestions. However, extending special training to our police on trends around serial killers may yield unanticipated results. Also, partnering with countries where such crime trends are more popular would most definitely advance our crime detection capacity.

Furthermore, there is curiosity around whether some of these developments are related in any way to human trafficking particularly as women and girls have disappeared without much information forthcoming on their whereabouts. A newspaper article in 2016 revealed that there is a total of 200 missing women to date in this country.

Perhaps strengthening crime research trends may indicate more conclusively whether or not our country is now a target for capturing women for the purposes of human trafficking. T&T’s anti-trafficking laws have been enforced, though not consistently, around sex trafficking, with women being imported into this country for these purposes. However, it now seems plausible for our law enforcement officials to explore the possibility of this trend.

Despite the issues highlighted above, safety is everyone’s business; it should not be wholeheartedly thrust onto the government or police, although they play a lead role. The responsibility is ours as a country and its genesis is in the values with which we raise our children and how much we cultivate restoration and rehabilitation in our land. We must be cognisant of the fact that regardless of the crime committed, both victim and offender originate from among us.

Jolene Romain

The CISPS is a registered institution with the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT). Tel: 223-6999, 299-8636, info@caribbeansecurityinstitute.com or www.caribbeansecurityinstitute.com

Gamesmanship and child marriage
Published: 
Friday, January 20, 2017

Regrettably, it is uncertain whether Tuesday’s Senate vote on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 will actually lead to protection of girls from too-early marriage. The Bill has to be passed by the House of Representatives before it becomes law, and it will likely be passed now that the AG has framed it as only needing a simple majority, which the PNM can provide.

However, having been passed, it is likely that a constitutional case will be kick-started to establish whether or not constitutional freedoms were violated and whether or not the AG was correct to tactically switch from a three-fifths to simple majority passage.

No one can tell at this point whether such technical considerations regarding constitutional law will lead to the amendments being overturned or upheld. In the end, it will become about a battle between UNC and PNM, and religious patriarchs versus the state. The best interest of girls, whether or not they represent a minority of marriages, will disappear from priority.

The UNC, under Kamla Persad-Bissessar, helped to create this disgusting situation. In government, the party courted and relied on religious conservatives, and was unwilling to risk ire of this small but vocal segment for a more progressive approach to women’s and girls’ rights. In last Wednesday’s debate, they brought in temporary senators to present perspectives, clearly vetted by the party, which the wider population found shocking and to partially misinformed, particularly in terms of why the Children’s Act’s (2012) “Romeo Clause” decriminalises adolescent sexual relations.

The UNC’s approach was to friend-up all sides simultaneously, thereby showing only supreme self-interest. On the one hand, Persad-Bissessar has said she herself supports raising the age of marriage to 18 years old. On the other, the party brings in men who oppose that position, under the guise of inclusion and representativeness. Such mixed messaging sparked concern, certainly in the women’s movement, that sending the Bill to a Joint Select Committee would lead to it being buried there or watered down to assuage patriarchal interests.

Keep in mind that the legal age for girls to marry is 18 years old in India and Iraq, and 16 years old in Pakistan and Egypt. So, let’s be clear that there is no single Hindu, Christian or Muslim perspective on the legitimacy of marrying girls at 14 or 16 years old.

It’s in this context of the UNC’s unwillingness to do the best thing for girls that the AG may have wrongly made his tactical switch. The fact that the need for a three-fifths majority was included in the December 19, 2016 version of the Bill is itself a sign that he and the drafters recognised that there were constitutional implications.

The expediency with which those paragraphs were removed was bound to be seized on by the UNC as the AG playing politics with law. So, the AG may have to take his chances in court, at taxpayers’ expense, risking having this key amendment overturned on a technicality, at girls’ expense. I applaud his willingness to push through this legislation, and here the UNC has not one moral leg to stand on, but the AG’s decision has made the process more politicised and messy.

Speaking of messy moralities, the UNC is now using language of “respect for family life” in its constitutional counter punch, showing instead no respect for globally-established, detrimental effects of early-marriage on girls, and global conventions to which we are a signatory. It is unbelievable that girls’ individual life chances are still being subordinated to those of the “family” in a way that is not applicable to boys, with party leadership ignoring such legal inequality.

The Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill 2016 simply seeks to raise the age of marriage to 18 years old. Women’s organisations have argued that possible amendments should have included an exception allowing both girls and boys to marry from 16 years old, with counseling and parental permission or, instead, a magistrate’s permission given with these adolescents’ capacity, choice and best interest in mind.

As this debate moves to the House, the nation must insist that girls’ self-development and rights are our priority. If you agree, make those 41 MPs represent you. This legislation is overdue.

Only tangible results will sway public opinion
Published: 
Friday, January 20, 2017

There are serious questions about the capacity of the police to work efficently, either on it's on or in collaboration with other national security agencies. Therefore, the public at large will take little comfort in the latest plans announced for a war on crime. 

Government’s plan for a multi-pronged attack on crime is sure to test the capacity of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) and may not achieve the desired results unless there is a parallel effort to reform the country’s main law enforcement body.

While the efforts announced Wednesday evening will draw upon all of T&T’s national security agencies, the shortcomings of the TTPS will be a major hindrance. Without a marked improvement in crime detection and maintenance of public order, without implementation of measurable performance markers for police officers at all levels, this effort is doomed to go the route of previous all-out anti-crime initiatives—using up considerable resources with no real results.

There are too many things that need to be fixed within the TTPS, including their low detection rate and their continuing failure to regain public confidence and trust.

There is also the matter of manpower deficiencies which should not be the case in a 7,000-strong force. However, apart from the presence of rogue officers within the ranks, there is also the fact that the human resources of the TTPS are not properly deployed, plus long-standing major gaps at the executive level.

On the campaign trail, as well as soon after they took office, the Keith Rowley administration had promised to give priority to the appointment of a permanent police commissioner. That was to be among Government’s first steps toward engendering confidence and stability in the TTPS which has been in something of a holding pattern for close to five years with an acting commissioner at its helm. However, those efforts seem to have stalled.

The last permanent police commissioner, Canadian-born Dwayne Gibbs, resigned in July 2012. Stephen Williams, a veteran with 37 years of service, has been acting in the position since August 7, 2012, and there has been little information from the Police Service Commission (PSC) on filling the position apart from extending Williams’ temporary appointment every six months.

It may be that they are working quietly behind the scenes, given their significant role in overseeing recruitments, appointments, disciplinary matters and other weighty managerial issues within the TTPS. However, it is not acceptable that the PSC is not clearly seen carrying out their duties at a time when the country’s main law enforcement body urgently needs to get back on even keel.

There are serious questions about the capacity of the police to work effectively and efficiently, either on its own or in collaboration with other national security agencies. Therefore, the public at large will take little comfort in the latest plans announced for a war on crime.

The truth is that the criminals seem to have had the advantage for so long that nothing less than tangible results will sway public opinion on this latest joint offensive.

Government, the PSC and the TTPS have so far failed to deliver a successful response to the crime wave that has been sweeping this country with increasing intensity since the turn of the 21st century. So far, all the billion of dollars in the annual budgets allocated to national security have not yielded long-term results.

The way policing is done in this country needs to be radically transformed but it cannot happen overnight. It is time to embark on that long overdue process which should have at its core restoration of public confidence in the TTPS. The disciplinary process needs to be upgraded so that rogue officers are quickly investigated, punished and weeded out of the system.

In the long run, the only convincing evidence that the TTPS is achieving its objectives will be when there is improved public safety and citizens are less fearful of becoming victims of crime; when there is greater public support for the police; and there is significant reduction in violent crimes, gang activity and drug trafficking.

This is the tangible evidence—not occasional release of statistics purporting to show reductions in certain types of crimes—that must be delivered.

There are serious questions about the capacity of the police to work effectively and efficiently, either on its own or in collaboration with other national security agencies. Therefore, the public at large will take little comfort in the latest plans announced for a war on crime.

A police officer stands guard outside the Port-of-Spain Magistrates court on Wednesday.
RAMJATTAN: KANHAI

RAMJATTAN: KANHAI Margaret also known as TantyDolly of Lopinot Village Arouca passed away peacefully onMonday 16th January, 2017She was the wife of Albert Ramjattan (deceased) The sister of Winfield, Carmen, Eliza-beth, Lois, Sagar and Reynold (all deceased) Aunt of Janis, Rosanne, Billy, Derek, Keithand Charmaine Kanhai, Kenrick, Cassandra, Rena,Desmond (deceased), Lester(deceased), Gail and Marcia Gaya, Ricky, Eddison, Joanne,Karen, Alana and Michelle Motiram Cousin of Gilbertand Rosalind Kanhai, RubySeenath and others Closerelative of the Gosine's Dear Friend of the Santoo, Judithand Randolph Chaitan.

The funeral takes place at St.Aidan's Anglican Church,Eastern Main Road Arouca at2:00 pm on Saturday 21stJanuary, 2017 thence to the church yard cemetery.

RAMJATTAN: KANHAI
Published: 
Thursday, January 19, 2017

RAMJATTAN: KANHAI Margaret also known as TantyDolly of Lopinot Village Arouca passed away peacefully onMonday 16th January, 2017She was the wife of Albert Ramjattan (deceased) The sister of Winfield, Carmen, Eliza-beth, Lois, Sagar and Reynold (all deceased) Aunt of Janis, Rosanne, Billy, Derek, Keithand Charmaine Kanhai, Kenrick, Cassandra, Rena,Desmond (deceased), Lester(deceased), Gail and Marcia Gaya, Ricky, Eddison, Joanne,Karen, Alana and Michelle Motiram Cousin of Gilbertand Rosalind Kanhai, RubySeenath and others Closerelative of the Gosine's Dear Friend of the Santoo, Judithand Randolph Chaitan.

The funeral takes place at St.Aidan's Anglican Church,Eastern Main Road Arouca at2:00 pm on Saturday 21stJanuary, 2017 thence to the church yard cemetery.

MOORE: SYBIL LAMPKIN

MOORE: SYBIL LAMPKIN of 7Jurawan Terrace, Petit Valley, passed away on January 13,2017 at the P.O.S.G.H. She was the devoted Wife of the late Mr. Norris Moore. Motherof Veronica (June), Renison, Sandra, Steve, Brian (decd),Gail & Roger. The Loving Step-Mother of Lenn Frank. She was the loving Grand-mother of 20. Great-grand-mother of 8. Great-Great-Grandmother of 4. She was also the Aunt of many and her nephews Pat James &Sydney Lampkin were veryspecial to her. She was also the friend of many.

Funeral Service at 12:00 noon on Saturday 21st January 2017,from Clark & Battoos Chapel,11 Tragarete Road, P.O.S.,thence to the Woodbrook Cemetery, Mucurapo Road.For further enquiries please contact C&B 625-1170. To send condolences, please vis-it http://www.clarkandbattoo.-com/.

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