Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher. Photo by Roger Jacob
THE Opposition UNC has slammed Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher’s statement that divine intervention is needed to help deal with crime.
Addressing a meeting held by the Greater Chaguanas Chamber of Commmerce at Signature Hall, Chaguanas, Harewood-Christopher said. “The police could come up with whatever strategy, but unless we enlist the help of God, we will be working in vain.”
Appearing before the Parliament’s National Security joint select committee in February, Harewood-Christopher promised a reduction in murders by June.
On Wednesday, she said, “I know people are a bit alarmed that I would even suggest that they can see some progress by June, but I know if we all do our part with the help of God, we can achieve it.”
In a statement in response, Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally said the CoP’s statements were “a grave insult to all citizens especially the victims of crime.”
Noting recent crimes in his constituency, Rambally said, “I was eager to learn about her plans to deal with the rampant robberies and home invasions in the Central communities.”
He reiterated his disappointment at Harewood-Christopher’s statements. Rambally asked if the CoP “is seriously telling the nation that her major anti-crime initiative is to essentially ‘pray murders and robberies away.'” He said if this is the case, Harewood-Christopher is unfit to manage the police service.
On February 3, 36 MPs (government and opposition) unanimously supported a motion by the Prime Minister to support the Police Service Commission’s (PSC) nomination of Harewood-Christopher as the substantive CoP.
A week later, the PSC gave Harewood-Christopher her letter of appointment as CoP.
Describing himself as a devout Hindu and someone knowledgeable about the diverse religions in TT, Rambally said, “What is lacking is the age-old saying that ‘God helps those who helps themselves.’”
He claimed Harewood-Christopher’s statement mirrored those of the Prime Minister and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds last year when they asked the population to pray for relief from crime.
“Citizens do not need a sermon on the importance of prayer from the CoP, what they need is modern, data driven anti-crime plans, coupled with public officials who do not deflect their responsibility on to others, including the Almighty.”