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© Andrea De Silva/Reuters
A policeman checks a vehicle on a main street in Trinidad and Tobago, which is under night-time curfew.
Well, well, well - Trinidad and Tobago is now in a State of Emergency in an attempt at reducing crime, or at least, so they say.

In the 7 p.m. newscast on Monday 22 August, I saw numerous police officers performing their duties. This was excellent, and cements the statement which I've always made concerning crime and the police. This statement is, "if the police officers will simply do their duty, crime would reduce, full stop".

Why did it take a State of Emergency to get these cops to work, to suddenly have sufficient vehicles to be everywhere? Poor management is the simple answer; because as with any failing business, the cause is always a managerial issue.

Now, don't get me wrong; I agree with the State of Emergency in its purpose, but I strongly disagree with it in principle. The entire citizenry has been forced to lose their rights and freedoms because the police service was incompetent and incapable of gathering the evidence necessary for the arrest and conviction of all criminal elements; and the judiciary was inconsistent in the dispensation of justice; thus producing this scenario where the Government has imposed a State of Emergency where the police can arrest citizens without evidence or warrant; and next few months the same police will be clamouring for an increase for doing a great job at reducing crime.

What about ballistic evidence? We don't have that here or is that only a fictitious idea seen on CSI? Mind you, not all officers are careless, but the incidence of bad policing is as rampant as the present crime situation itself.

This whole situation makes me sick, as I am fed up with the Caribbean culture of consistently rewarding mediocrity.

At the end of this "SOE" the root problem will still exist, as it has become institutionalised. The police will still continue to rely on unreliable witnesses and forget about physical evidence. DNA evidence will remain a dream along with deposition evidence without a witness, and people will still be sentenced to two years for breaking their mother's spectacles and four months for the possession of an illegal firearm; thus making another "SOE" inevitable.

We may very well be heading towards a police state as "this is how it usually begins'. No State of Emergency can fix the sorry state we find ourselves in.

R Beddoe

Barataria