'I WILL WIN CRIME WAR.'
By Cecily Asson Wednesday, July 18 2012
In the face of spiraling crime, National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday announced that within the next “three to four months” he will deliver technologically advanced equipment to track gunshots, that is, pinpoint when and from where the weapons were fired.
Speaking to reporters yesterday in Freeport, the confident sounding minister promised that the hi-tech equipment “will blow the mind of every criminal.”
Warner told reporters, “We are coming with a piece of technology, that when it does come on the market, it will blow your mind and blow the mind of every criminal in this country. Trust me on that. The technology is coming that will be able to identify where the (gun) shot went off, when and even to detect the house it came from.”
Warner, who vowed not “to throw his hands up in the air” in the face of a murder spree, spoke to journalists yesterday after delivering the feature address to over 300 young cadets at the opening of the Annual Training Camp (ATC) of the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force at Carapichima East Secondary School, Freeport. And if Warner has his way, the technology could arrive ahead of time.
“I am meeting with the firm (foreign) to see how fast we could expedite it.” Warner refused to disclose the name of the firm or country the technology will come from.
A meeting has been scheduled with “top ministers” on July 27 at 2 pm “for them to discuss with the firm and to ask all the questions,” Warner said.
“But it (technology) is coming, when a shot is fired from a gun you would know where it came from,” he assured reporters. “You will know the area, you can pinpoint the house and if they have squad cars that are in the area, as there will be, it will be a matter of seconds (for the police to arrive).”
According to the National Security Minister, recent statistics have shown that 68 percent of the gunshots fired are in Laventille and 68 percent of the murders are also in Laventille.
Eight percent of the gunshots fired come from Diego Martin which he said has a 16 percent murder rate. The murder rate is the same for Carenage.
Over the last few days, there has been a sharp increase in the murder rate with as many as 11 persons killed in five days but Warner said he is determined to win the war on the criminals.
He said, “I am not going to throw my hands up in the air and say nothing can’t be done.
“I have a stronger resolve reserved now to arrest the spate of murders, and crime generally, and I will be undeterred by statistics, as unfortunate as they are. I am committed to the fact that I shall be a solution to the problem.”
He said, “I will tell you there is only one winner, and the winner will be me and by extension the Government and people of this country. There is no way, and I say this to you publicly, the criminals will be allowed to succeed.”
“I said 68 percent of the gunshots in this country have come from Laventille and Laventille has 68 percent of the murders in the country. Eight percent of the gunshots have come from Diego Martin and Carenage has 16 percent of the murders in this country. If these are the two areas, therefore it shouldn’t be difficult for any two by four policeman, for example, to solve it (crime). It wouldn’t be difficult. You don’t have to be in the police service to solve it. You know where the vast majority (of crimes) takes place. Okay, there are one or two in Barrackpore and Carapo and so on, generally speaking these things are centralised, they are localised.”
Warner went on to say that he has been criticised by detractors for the number of meetings he has held with stakeholders since coming into office two weeks ago. He is however convinced that the meetings are not a waste of time.
“At the end of the day,” Warner said, “I will be the first to tell you that I have not succeeded and that would not happen. I shall succeed.”
He went on, “The murders that took place, I say they are unfortunate but in no way shall I be deterred from that. I know where the vast of majority of murders have taken place.”
Warner said he will meet with Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and the entire First Division Police Executive, on Friday, at 5 am.
“They must give me answers to some questions. I will ask them where the problems are. I want to hear them on Friday morning,” said Warner.
“It has to be a collaborative effort,” he said, “it is not Jack Warner alone.”
Meanwhile, he has sent out a message to the criminals telling them that he is not afraid of them.
“I am not afraid of the criminals and at the end of the day, I will tell you there is only one winner, and the winner will be me and by extension the Government and people of this country.
“There is no way, and I say this to you publicly, the criminals will be allowed to succeed. If they succeed, then there is anarchy and that is not the alternative. And so I send a message to them wherever they are, they shall not succeed.”
In the next “couple weeks,” Warner stated, he will be speaking to the nation “on what we are doing and why and how.”
“All I ask you to do is to keep the faith, better days are coming.”
In addressing the cadets earlier, Warner expressed delight at being invited to the camp.
“I am particularly pleased to be here, particularly at a time when this nation is swimming in a sea of crime. One gets the impression that to make the front pages of the newspapers, you either have to be dead or arrested. Don’t expect to see yourself on the front or back either. These are the things that don’t make news and therefore, I ask you as young cadets to join with us at the ministry, join with the Government, and particularly with me, to arrest the scourge of crime.”
Warner believes that if “small crimes” in the country are addressed from small, the culture could be changed as he lashed out at a daily newspaper (not Newsday) headline yesterday which read “35 murders under Jack”.
“Then you won’t wake up a morning to see, ‘35 dead under Jack’. Jack didn’t kill any (one), I didn’t kill any (one), but the impression is always given in a negative sense as if you have to throw your hands up in the air. My friend, if 35 people die, if five people are murdered, if three people are murdered, whatever it is, that will be too many for this country.”
He said a Cadet Force in every secondary school could be the answer to crime.
As he revealed the statistics to the cadet officers, Warner questioned the role of police officers.
He asked, “Where have our police gone? Why aren’t we more secure today with all those resources we have?”
He said too often excuses are offered.
“We are a land of excuses,” he went on to say. “We don’t have enough men, we don’t have vests, we don’t have this we don’t have that. The fact is that the police service in this country is the best outfitted in the Caribbean and yet, for all, where are the results.”
Warner promised that he will be investing in the young cadets and went on to promise to make it easier for them to be absorbed into the Defence Force and police service.
“You as cadets must have an automatic right to enter the institution because you have invested your time and energy as young men (and women) in doing so. And therefore, for me to be told by Chief of Defence Staff (Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj) that there are 800 vacancies for members to be in the army is an indictment in the system. For me to be told that there are over 1,500 vacancies in the police service today, with crime so high, is an indictment on the system.”
Warner said the supplemental police act will be amended in an effort to fight the crime.
He used Black Stalin’s calypso refrain “Wait Dorothy Wait” as he called for patience from the public.
Warner said, “Gun amnesty, ‘wait Dorothy wait, cat-o-nine tail, wait Dorothy wait.”
“Whatever worked well in the past, must be brought back and I ask you young men for help. You in a sense are the salt of the earth, in you the future of this country stands.”
On Friday morning, Minister in the National Security Ministry, Collin Partap, will meet with senior cadet officers in an effort to locate 20 acres of land in central Trinidad to build to their headquarters.
The announcement was greeted with a loud round of applause.
“It is to start building your permanent home for the cadets, 20 acres of land. I’ve been only minister for 12 days you know, 35 murders in 12 days but not withstanding that, the work has to go on. You must have a permanent home.”
Warner said he will also meet with Minister of Education Dr Tim Gopeesingh today to seek permission to have one of the schools used as a temporary cadet headquarters.
“Help and join in the fight against crime. There is no way we shall give in to the criminals. Young cadets we can do it.” Spectators were welcomed by Commandant Colonel Patrick Taylor.
ATC 2012 “Camp Costelloe” has been named in honour of a former commanding officer Major Bendon Costelloe, a British cadet who served in the period 1947 to 1949.
Rev Dr Knolly Clarke and former Lieutenant Larry Ramdin, a public health administrator in Boston, received medals in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Cadet Force. Also part of Camp Costello is a platoon from Grenada. The camp ends on July 28 and Warner has indicated his intention to return.