01 March, 2009

81 Criminal Gangs

"If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed." (Exodus 22:2)

There are 81 criminal gangs in our little nation. Many are armed with “Uzi and Tec 9, assault rifles ranging from the AK 47, Galil and M 16, shotguns, pistols, grenades, sub-machine guns and revolvers” according to a report in today’s Express. Wow. And the Police Commissioner still refuses to sign thousands of firearm applications from law abiding citizens wishing to protect their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Speaking with a well placed source in the Police Service recently, I was told that the Commissioner was ‘very selective’ with his approvals of firearms licences.

Am I the only one who thinks something is wrong with this scenario? If the police are under-manned, under-resourced (their favourite excuse for not coming to help citizens is ‘no vehicles at this time’) and under-motivated, then it is only natural that citizens should be allowed to defend themselves with equal or more powerful firepower than the criminals.

I try not to be critical of police in general, as their jobs are hard enough as it is, but we have entered the realm of the ridiculous now, and it is becoming the norm. Let us stop pretending that there are “only a few bad eggs in the service” and speak the truth here. Every station has corrupt officers, with some more corrupt than others. Even if an officer has never accepted a bribe, nor rented out a gun to criminals for robberies, but he has refused to render assistance to a citizen when asked, then he is guilty of corrupting the level of service that is promised.

There is no way that 81 gangs can be operating with impunity, laying siege to entire communities without the blessings and active help of powerful police officers. Unarmed citizens make easy targets for these gangs. If the Commissioner really wants a reduction in violent crime–and is not just espousing platitudes, like his predecessors–then he only needs to begin issuing Firearm User’s Licences in quick order. A tip: issue them for three year periods, or even five. Former Police Commissioner Kenny Mohammed was wise and brave enough to issue more FULs than both his predecessor and his successor. No FUL holder went on a murderous rampage.

Another tip: allow corporals and most constables to be armed 24/7/365, but ensure their weapons ballistics data are captured through the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) presently in use at the Forensic Science Centre. That way, investigators will be ahead of the curve, should officers’ guns be used in a shooting.

Commissioner, you want the public to help you, so you can help us? Don’t put our lives at risk by asking us to report criminals who will know our identities within minutes (with a quick cell phone call from corrupt police officers). Instead, allow us to be on even ground, in terms of firefighting ability, with the criminals. Allow us to arm ourselves. There would be a dramatic drop in the violent crime rate after that. Communities will thrive once more, when it is possible for our women and children to walk our neighborhoods streets without fear. Community based activities, such as blockos, village fairs, sidewalk sales, sporting activities, etc., will increase in participation and regularity as people can once again live, instead of merely surviving.

Don’t be afraid Commissioner, try it. Your retirement will be that much sweeter, knowing you have taken the initiative and did something real to reduce violent crime, instead of merely talking (like the NatSec Minister). Real police officers and ordinary citizens will also be grateful to you.


  1. I ones heard this story before of the police saying NO cars available right now and this persons reaction was:
    He called back one minuit later and told the cop take your time i shot the guy dead in my front yard and within minuits the police appeard. This was not in TT but it sounds like a good try to do..
    Becuase if u shot someone in your yard human rights and all that will apear also.
    YEah gangs cause one big problem.. Luckly most killing is still between gangs and not as much civiliants yet..
    Good artical.

  2. Trinni let me know if I can help. Maybe if the commissioner recieved media attention from different groups it would help. I don't know for sure but its crazy that good,honest,law abiding citizens like yourself cannot have firearms to protect yourself from these drug dealing gangs. Its not right. God protect you Trinni.


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