It seems that the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) was asleep or on vacation. DOMA was missing in action, although murders were skyrocketing for the past months.
All of a sudden, on Wednesday, DOMA issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to take charge and bring relief to what it called “the murderous savagery that is currently raging”.
The homicide rate for 2016 is approaching 300, far exceeding last year’s figure for the same period.
“Not even the murder of children is causing any reaction – Cyon Paul – 9 years old, the little boys in school uniform, pulled from a taxi in broad daylight and shot to death in the street in Morvant – little 10-year-old Tecia Henry, her throat cut open and buried under a dog kennel, 9 year old Jadel Holder and 15 year old Jamal Braithwaite made to lie face down in their home and each dispatched with a single shot to the back of the head – forgotten by a changed people”, said DOMA.
“The unresolved murders are dividing us – isolating the poorer communities, ascribing value to some lives and asking us to devalue the lives of others – the lack of concern for these so called lesser lives will inevitably invade our thinking in other areas of national life and eventually destroy our social fabric. It will stain further, our reputation and make us a basket-case destination for local and foreign investment. Fundamental, basic analysis and management problem solving is desperately needed”.
DOMA said that several months ago, Dr Rowley said that Divisional Commanders of the Police Service have to answer for the crime in their district, that people are killing each other for almost no reason at all and even the slightest and in many cases, murderers are walking among us.
“In comparison to the other utterances being made now and over the past several years the remarks of Prime Minister Rowley shines a bright light on the blood stained ground on which we are walking.
Probably, of the three comments, the most perceptive managerial view is the suggestion that Divisional Commanders must be forced to give an account for the crimes in their district. This model of management, so normal in private everyday life is absent from the management structure of the public services with deadly consequences in security – the notable exception being our excellent Defence Force”.
DOMA said that forcing Divisional Police Commanders to give an account on a weekly basis, will obligate these heads, to ask the same of the ranks below them; to Senior Superintendents who will question ASP’S to Inspectors to Sergeant’s, Corporals and finally to the Constables most publicly visible to us.
“Who better to start this desperately needed line-management model but the person with the highest rank, the chairman of the National Security Council, our commander in chief, the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago. We wish to respectfully suggest that the Prime Minister take charge at once of the effort to save the lives of those whom the society is being asked to devalue”.
DOMA said that Dr Rowley should give the signal the country is determined to save these lives regardless of whether they are “known to us” or “Gang or Drug related” and that these lives matter.
DOMA said “We respectfully suggest that a weekly meeting of Divisional Commanders including the Minister of National Security, the Commissioner of Police, DCP’s and relevant ACP’s be convened at the Prime Minister’s office with the haste that the task of saving lives requires.-
Take one district, one county, one neighbourhood and solve one murder, make one arrest and get us back on the road to hope.
The power of the accountability model for divisional commanders will lead us to hold the murderers themselves accountable.
We must demand that the “Killers walking among us” answer for their savagery to the ranks above them, initially to the detectives and the Constables in the charge room, then to the DPP and finally to a magistrate or judge.
Thoughts of killing a man because of perceived issues of “respect” will instantly be discouraged by the fear of having o answer to an officer of the law .
As we the people shake our heads in ever more brief disgust and we sink to greater depths of hopelessness we wish to encourage our Prime Minister to follow through on his astute remarks with the action that our Country needs”.