Malabar residents, TTPS talk security

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Snr Supt Miguel Montrichard addresses residents at a town hall meeting. – File photo by Roger Jacob

DESPITE a few parking complaints and issues with illegal dumping at the Malabar Industrial Estate, Malabar residents had few complaints about policing in their neighbourhood.

Resident Vanessa Scott, speaking at the Wednesday night meeting held at the Malabar Phase Four Community Centre on Holly Betaudier Street, said she and her neighbours collected money and purchased their own CCTV camera systems. She said since the systems were installed, there has been a visible decrease in crime and strange people and vehicles on the street.

Scott asked if there were any financial programmes in place for communities wanting to do the same but not having the money to do so.

Insp Ishmael Pitt said he was proud of the residents who gathered and pooled their money to purchase the cameras. He said there are currently no programmes that assist with purchasing cameras.

He encouraged others to follow Scott and her neighbours’ initiative if they can.

Arima mayor Balliram Maharaj said he is willing to assist the community if they can find a company willing to work with them.

Another resident raised concerns about abandoned vehicles stored at the police stations, saying it was causing a rodent infestation. Sgt Paula Hospedales, head of the Malabar station, noted his concern.

Sisters Nadine and Cherish Williams levelled an accusation of poor customer service against police. They gave their address as Trainline and said they were not there to bash the police but were dissatisfied with the service they receive when officers patrol their area.

Cherish said, “I know our area in the past had a reputation for being a hot spot, but that was long ago. There are new residents in the area, and we do not engage in criminal activity; we want to work with officers; we want to build bridges, but when you have officers coming in and cursing and intimidating us, it really is hurtful.”

Snr Supt Miguel Montrichard, head of the Northern Division, apologised on behalf of the police service, saying he does not condone this type of behaviour in the service and that he has taken note of her remarks.

Nadine Williams raised concerns about police communication with her family, recalling an incident last year when a 14-year-old relative went missing and her interaction with the police.

“The Malabar police sent us to the Arima police station and Arima sent us back to Malabar. They treated us as though we were criminals, it was only after calling E999 did we get some help, every other department we spoke with was understanding and helpful towards us.”

Supt Ian Carty offered his apologies on behalf of the police service and asked the public to work with the service in identifying these situations and officers.

Before taking her seat, Nadine thanked officers for their work and echoed her sister’s sentiments about their willingness to work with officers. Montrichard, who gave the feature address, said he believes the meeting was necessary.

He saw it as a collaboration that benefits the community and officers in identifying weaknesses and finding solutions to issues as one unit. He stressed that officers come from the same society, they are tasked with patrolling and he urged everyone to instill the right principles and values in their children that will benefit the country in the future.

Montrichard urged the community to return to a value system where the community was allowed to discipline the child, calling parenting extremely important.

“If the community wants a hard-working, honest officer, they need to start creating it now because the service cannot instil morals, integrity, and other core values. It starts at home.”