PM: Attorney General examining legislation for Tobago police force

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police cordon off the road in Mt St George, Tobago where the body of a woman was found off a precipice on May 4. – FILE PHOTO

The Prime Minister says everything possible must be done to prevent Tobago from becoming another criminal playground.

Speaking during the conversations with the Prime Minister at the Ann Mitchell-Gift auditorium of the Scarborough Library, Dr Rowley said the Attorney General has been asked to look into Tobago’s ability to have its own police service.

He said 15 years ago, a draft bill was sent to the Cabinet, however, upon examination, it required a series of amendments to several clauses. He said it became too complex and did not get past the cabinet at that time.

He said Government was looking at the Municipal Corporations Act to see whether similar legislation could be enacted in Tobago.

“I’ve asked the Attorney General to look at that and hopefully, in the not too distant future, we’ll get some answers and we’ll see a pathway towards Tobago having a second level of police officers in communities.”

He said Tobago has a smaller population than Trinidad and, “You all know each other very well.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley –

“Many of you very well know who the criminals are and I am not asking you to expose yourself to them but as best as you are able to, you will do yourself a favour if you know who are the ones threatening your safety and security and you let it be known to the security services in Tobago.

“In that way, we can root them out, minimise them and ameliorate the effects of criminal effects on the population of Tobago.”

He said he received a request from Chief Secretary Farley Augustine for talks on the issue. Rowley said he spoke to Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher about the issue and she had taken action to beef up the police presence in Tobago.

“There will be a unit of the Inter-Agency Task Force here in Tobago. These are police officers who act immediately; they are specially trained; and they act on information about criminal conduct, especially on fresh or brewing criminal threats.

“A unit of that will be in Tobago and the Guard and Emergency Branch will have a presence in Tobago to assist the normal police officers.”

Asked by a member of the public about programmes to get youths off the streets, he said Government has to ensure there is a multi-faceted approach to stopping crime.

“It’s a multi-faceted problem and the solutions are multi-faceted. People have freedom to do certain things and one of those freedoms is to do nothing and we have to be able to attract our young people into positive lifestyles.”

He said some young people may see the negative options as more attractive.

“The crime situation is not something that is going to go away overnight; it’s not something we should feel helpless about but it is something we should continue to focus on to eliminate its existence at the community level, right down to the personal level.

“We have a situation where there are a number of facilitating environments for crime to grow in our country; we have to identify them and treat with them in a number of ways.”