Top cop: All-hands-on deck approach to dealing with murders

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob. FILE PHOTO –

IT’S easy to say the police must deal with it, but if Trinidad and Tobago is really serious about tackling the scourge of murders and violence in society, an all-hands-on deck approach must be employed.

This was the view of acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob when contacted on Monday evening to comment on the 12 murders committed over the long Easter weekend holiday, from Holy Thursday to Easter Monday.

He said while murders quickly make news, the police remain busy dealing with law and order and were successful, through quick action, in arresting a gunman and seizing a high-powered AR-15 assault rifle and a revolver.

He vowed that police will go after criminals but reiterated that it cannot only be up to the police to deal with crime.

Police sources pointed out that this was the first long holiday weekend since the lifting of all covid19 public-health restrictions and some of the murders may have been a case of criminals settling old scores with their enemies.

Jacob called on NGOs, including religious bodies, to assist in helping the public to develop non-violent means of conflict resolution.

He said of the 12 murders which occurred between last Thursday and Monday, four were gang-related, another was part of an attempted robbery, and the remaining seven were the result of conflicts taken to a fatal and violent conclusion.

“There are too many instances where minor issues end up in death and mayhem in this country,” he said.

“I am calling on priests, pastors, pundits, imams and other religious leaders (to assist). In some instances, they would recognise some people who may have domestic issues and try to counsel, but they may not have the skill.

“There are people in religious congregations who are counsellors or who are experts in conflict resolution. These people have to come forward and help. Religious bodies can utilise these skills to help those deal with issues.”

Jacob said he was asking for greater emphasis on conflict resolution as a means of dealing with issues before they escalate to bloodshed. “We need NGOs to be more aggressive in the way forward.”

He said the police will continue dealing with gang violence with a main focus being on removing illegal guns from the streets. In the past ten days, he said, police had seized 30 weapons.

Jacob expressed pride in the performance of his officers, saying over the holiday weekend, 13 guns were seized out of a total of 220 seized so far in 2022.