Flying Squad may return
By CLINT CHAN TACK Tuesday, June 26 2012
NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday hinted that the much feared police “Flying Squad” of yesteryear could be recreated in order to curb high levels of murders and serious crime under control.
Warner gave this hint as he spoke to reporters at Knowsley in Port-of-Spain following yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony for new government ministers.
Speaking ahead of a 2 pm meeting today, at his new Temple Court office in Port-of-Spain with Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs and heads of the various units of national security, Warner said he would explore the possibility of bringing back a, “Flying Squad that is sanitised.”
The Flying Squad was an elite unit of police officers back in the 1970s with officers hand- picked by and led by now deceased Police Commissioner Randolph Burroughs, to tackle serious crimes especially murder.
Over the years of its existence, whispers abounded that the Flying Squad was allegedly carrying out extra-judicial killings on known criminals. However, it was credited with markedly reducing crime.
“There were some good elements in the Flying Squad. Of course they did some very wrong things which have to change. Let us go back and see what worked well in the past. Whatever worked well, let’s do (it again),” Warner said.
He said while the People’s Partnership has dismantled security agencies formed under the PNM such as the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT), these units are being replaced with agencies that “are more responsible and accountable.”
While he reiterated his opposition to the 21st Century Policing Initiative, Warner declined to comment on the performance of Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs. Saying that, “sometimes you have to crush grapes to get wine”, Warner added he is sure Gibbs was “a reasonable man”.
Saying that while certain serious crimes are down, “once murders go up that is the yardstick by which people judge you...and this has to come down.”
“We have on our hands here a kind of urban warfare. Urban warfare has to be met frontally and we can’t run. We must take this country back. Street by street, corner by corner,” Warner declared.
He vowed to be even more visible than when he was Works Minister.
“You will see me on the block, like you’ve never seen me before. If you think you’ve seen me digging roads and bridges and things, you will see me more than that and sooner rather than later.”
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday again stoutly defended Warner over allegations of his involvement in wrongdoing while he was a vice president in world football governing body FIFA.
“Allegations are allegations and they will forever be allegations. Should there not have been allegations, somebody would have been in jail,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar praised Warner’s predecessor John Sandy as a “tremendously wonderfully human” who, “helped us to bring crime down.”