A DESPERATE GOVERNMENT BY RAVI MAHARAJ

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When attempting to recreate certain results, it is usually helpful for the persons involved to fully understand the reasons behind the initial success. This concept appears to be lost on the current administration however, who seem content to simply rehash the crime plans of former governments with the hope that something will inevitably work.

The recent hiring of Mr. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj is the best example of this, as not only does it wreak of desperation, but also highlights the inadequacies of their own cabinet. But more than this however, the move aims to reproduce the same results of the 1995-2000 UNC administration without understanding why it worked in the first place.

When Mr. Dole Chadee and his gang were hanged in 1999, the murder toll had already dipped below the three-digit mark in the year prior due to the combined efforts of the protective agencies. During a conversation I had with Mr.

Basdeo Panday a few months ago, he explained that this was attained through dialogue with the relative heads of the national security agencies as well as his commitment to providing the infrastructure and provisions required by these forces in carrying out their duties. While these initiatives, such as the creation of the Rapid Response E999 unit did garner some attention, nothing was as sexy as the hanging of the Dole Chadee gang in 1999, and that is the root of the problem we face today.

Without taking the time to consider the significance of these hangings and the climate of the nation at that time, it is easy to understand why many people consider the moment as a significant milestone in our history. Even today, people still talk about how the hangings were significant due to the length of time that passed between those and any capital punishment exercised prior. Of course, they often forget that it was only in 1994, the year prior to the UNC winning the general election, that Mr. Glen Ashby was sentenced and hanged by the Patrick Manning led PNM administration. Even greater still do they forget that only one month following the hanging of the Dole Chadee gang, two other persons, Mr. Wenceslaus James and Mr. Anthony Briggs were hanged for a completely separate matter in which they murdered a “PH taxi driver” at the Heights of Guanapo in 1996. But the fact that only the Dole Chadee hanging is committed to memory is the reason that any hanging that takes place now will not have the same effect.

The hanging of Dole Chadee and his gang occurred less than a decade after the failed coup attempt by the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, during a time when the country needed a government to take firm and decisive action against crime in any form that it could. This is the same blood-lust that prompted the war between the USA and the Middle East which eventually led the the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussain and the capture of Osama bin Laden. Due to the amnesty provided to Imam Yasin Abu Bakr and his followers, the people of Trinidad and Tobago felt robbed of the same sense of justice however, which led to the necessity of the hanging of not only Dole Chadee, but all of his lieutenants, who at the time represented the face of organized crime in our country. Just as the USA presence in the Middle East and their war against the Taliban created ISIS however, so too did the elimination of this gang create a vacuum that was filled by more bold and violent criminals who have held our nation under siege ever since.

Since the announcement of the threat of resumed hangings in the country, the murder toll appears to have spiked instead of reduced as the government would have hoped. This may partly be due to the fact that the police have demonstrated their deficiency in successfully apprehending or prosecuting any of the criminals involved in these “gang related murders”. Even in the instances in which persons are apprehended and charged with domestic murders, there is still opportunities for them to cheat the hangman as a result of technicalities. Seeing as there is no one with even a fraction of the fame or notoriety as Dole Chadee currently on death row, one wonders what the impact the hanging of a bunch of low level hoodlums may have on the rest of their society. Moreover, in a case where the war of each gang culminates in the killing of these rival members, these hangings may even work to the advantage of any gang leader who figures out how to manipulate the system.
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DOLE CHADEE

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