Business wants CoP to act on CCTV, FULs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

President of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers Vivek Charran. – File photo

VIVEK CHARRAN, Confederation of Regional Business Chambers head, hopes Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher can streamline the granting of firearm user licences (FULs) and curb gangs’ use of CCTV cameras for criminal pursuits, he told Newsday on May 14.

He gave his reaction to Cabinet on May 13 granting the CoP an extra year in office.

“We congratulate her upon being granted another term,” he said.

“However in the next year, among other things, if she could find a way to bring some sort of efficiency and relief to all of those who have been applying for FULs and have not been granted, or the process hasn’t really been as fast as it should.”

He recalled that a few cases of such applications were now in the law courts.

“We want to see the FUL system streamlined and efficient.” Charran hoped such improvements would allow people to have firearms, to protect themselves.

Charran also said the post of CoP was not an easy position to occupy, especially when most business owners were not comfortable with the country’s crime situation.

He also expressed alarm over gangs mounting CCTV cameras on public utility polls to monitor police stations and possibly other targets.

“We do not know how many of these cameras are out there. We don’t know where they are and where they are located.”

He said the police found a hub of CCTV cameras in Bangladesh but he feared there could be several other banks of cameras elsewhere in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The reality is that this sort of tactic by the criminals can bring the worst-case scenario to bear, for many reasons, with regard to home invasions, armed burglaries, gang warfare and so on.

“It is something new that has come up. It is good the police have discovered it but it is something that I’m sure they know rapidly needs to be brought into check.”

Charran said Trinidad and Tobago’s streets were still not safe, even as people were still very worried about home invasions.

“I hope that amongst the other duties that she has during this next year that she could continue to focus on bringing some much-needed relief and change when it comes to these things.”

He hoped Harewood-Christopher could rein in murders, burglaries, attacks on businesses, the random killing of business people, and home invasions which he said continue to occur.

“With that being said we understand that the police cannot be omnipresent and omnipotent, and that is why it is critical for people to be able to defend themselves.

“The reality is that the police cannot be posted in front of every single store or home or area in Trinidad and Tobago.

“So when it comes to home invasions and men coming in to steal things and commit criminal acts, the reality is how do we protect ourselves?”