Former minister in the Ministry of National Security Subhas Panday is calling on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to expose the names of the 50 dangerous shooters responsible for the rise in homicides in T&T.
At a press conference held at his San Fernando office yesterday, Panday said people are being shot daily while the Commissioner keeps the information on the shooters a secret.
“It appears that the more money we spend on National Security with particular reference to crime solving, the murder rate continues to escalate. This situation is untenable and it appears that something is not being done right. It seems that throwing money alone in solving crime is not working,” Panday said.
He added that the truth absolves defamation so once there is credible information to implicate the shooters, they should be exposed.
“I call upon him to release the names, photographs and addresses of these 50 criminals. Confront them by putting up their names and photographs in the electronic and print media. Take the fight to them, print posters with them and place them in not only every police station or the protective services but paste them in conspicuous places—in all government buildings and other public places. Since you say you know the addresses stick it up in their villages. One thing criminals don’t like is to be exposed and known, that’s why when they shoot they run. The villagers then could do surveillance on the people and inform the police at no cost,” Panday said.
He noted that the posters should read, “He can kill you.”
Once exposed, Panday said the criminals could be counselled by family members and religious leaders to turn them away from their deviant behaviour before an expensive trial begins.
“This will be cost effective. It will prevent collateral damage to innocent members of the public. This awareness will cause people to avoid certain areas,” Panday said.
He added that some of these criminals behave as upright men in their villages but migrate to other areas and commit their crimes undetected.
“When you stick up posters in their villages, the villagers will become aware of the shooters living around them. This may act as a deterrent to them,” he added.
Panday also said cameras cannot be placed on every lamp post on every street in a country as a method of detection neither could there ever be a sufficient number of police officers to deal with them.
“If the population is given the relevant information about criminals then there is the possibility of 2.6 million eyes throughout the country on the lookout.
“Crime is everybody’s business and we must advise the population to mind their business. There must be a collaborative effort between the population and the protective services in dealing with crime. Having given the population the relevant information informing them that the man in that photograph can kill you and then they will be motivated to protect their own lives and interest and to work with the police to deal with him,” he said.
He also said that the public could call Gary directly with the information.
Contacted for comment, Griffith said Panday was misinformed.
“He does not understand that it is not that we cannot find the persons of interest. It is not a case or a need to acquire Bounty Hunters to find criminals who are on the run and hiding,” Griffith said.
Saying putting up posters would serve no purpose, Griffith said, “We know them. We know who they are. There is a difference between the intelligence of pinpointing a suspect to having evidence to have them arrested. There is a difference. There is also no such thing as the perfect crime.”
He said if anyone wanted to help they could find the witnesses to come forward.
“Many usually see when it happens but say nothing either due to fear of reprisal, or affiliation with the same shooter. They refuse to talk and even protect them, as they are seen as the Robin Hoods in the same communities that they torment by killing young men in cold blood,” Griffith added.
Griffith has revealed that there are “over 50 shooters linked to various gangs” in this country who are responsible for the “significant number of homicides, via gang activity.”
He said this was the reason why the Bail Amendment Bill is a “critical tool” in being a strong deterrent and ensuring that when criminals are held they remain behind bars.
Reporter: Radhica Sookraj