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Police Service to have its largest recruitment in years

By JULIEN NEAVES Thursday, May 29 2014

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HOUSE TALK: Former Government colleagues Jack Warner, left, who is now leader of the Independent Liberal Party speaks with Government MP Collin Partap...
HOUSE TALK: Former Government colleagues Jack Warner, left, who is now leader of the Independent Liberal Party speaks with Government MP Collin Partap...

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, will, this year, see its largest recruitment of new officers, according to acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams. He said this year’s recruitment “will be the largest in many, many years.”

Williams, at the time, was responding to statements by Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Kenrick Maharaj, who claimed that the local Police Service was “stretched.”

The acting top cop reported that they have already recruited 208 police officers, who will be “passing out” in June. He also reported that on Monday some 300 additional recruits will move into training..

“One thing I can tell Trinidad and Tobago,” Williams assured, “I am doing my job; I am doing it to the best of my ability, and I am doing it better than most people,” he added.

Maharaj had made his comments on Tuesday last at the Prayers Plus three-day symposium “Heads of the Christian Faith Finding Solutions to Crime” held at the Hilton in Port-of-Spain.

He called for consideration of legislative support to allow members of the Defence Force to engage in independent operations, and spoke about their lack of power of arrest.

Williams yesterday noted Maharaj publicly expressed views about his portfolio, and questioned why he should comment on these views. He said the police have a sanction strength, to which the service has been working towards fulfilling. He also pointed out that National Security Minister, Gary Griffith, told the Parliament about plans regarding recruitment of new officers.

Williams noted that he must be challenged in relation to his performance in his job, and, with the history of the police service, “(he) can’t make magic and turn a police service overnight when people haven’t done it over the years. What you need to recognise is, that there is a consistent trending of improvements”.

Williams pointed out that “anywhere you go in Trinidad and Tobago today you will see the presence of police. There is a visible, active presence of police officers”.

He said his job was to ensure that they get guns out of the hands of criminals, and with more than 296 guns seized this year, “the police have been doing their job, and doing it in an exceptional manner.”.

“Never in the history of Trinidad and Tobago, in less than five months, we have recovered close to 300 firearms,” he noted.

Williams made the comments while speaking with the media, following the fourth annual Police Headquarters Indian Arrival Day programme, held at the Police Administration Building, Port- of-Spain.

The event featured singing from the Freeport Hindu School, dance pieces from the Radha Krishna Dance Company, also from Freeport; the comedy of Kenneth Supersad, a skit and a historical perspective from TBC Radio Network representative, Shamoon Mohammed.

Williams in his remarks, noted that over the years people in this country of different ethnicity have been living together in harmony and appreciating diversity. He congratulated the members of the East Indian community for contributing in such a significant way to the growth and development of the nation.

On the programme’s theme “Back to basics, Practising what we Preach”, Williams noted that basic values and principles are continually eroded. He cautioned that if the pace of this erosion increases the country will lose the basic values that are core to our existence in a democratic society.

Mohammed said the Indian immigrants brought so much to this country including music, dance, instruments and food. He noted that they had an undying willingness to keep their traditions alive.

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