Letter to Hinds: We’re Victims in Waiting

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‘Sir, I do not doubt increased police patrols will have an effect on minor crimes, but they will very rarely touch the cause of the violence and crime in our nation’


Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

DEAR Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister of National Security,

Please save your tears for your pillow. I am not sure what reaction you were hoping to garner with your saline-sprinkled “apology” but forgive me and my fellow countrymen for doubting any sincerity.

Us Trinbagonians have lived in a constant state of fear for well over a decade. Fear that our homes and businesses will be robbed, vandalised, burnt to the ground.

Fear that whether we leave our homes or not we will become collateral damage, victims of stray bullets or mistaken identities in ongoing gang wars. Fear that a simple trip to the grocery, market, store will end with us either being dragged down the road by bandits, or our faces being added to the endless list of missing persons.


You, Mr Hinds, do not know our fear. You sir, for the longest time have had the luxury of safety. Armed guards at your side, at the side of your family, a fortress of protection that most of us do not and will never have.

I do not doubt that you have had your fair share of threats in the past, but you’ve always had the resources to give you some peace of mind, the peace of mind of contractors, homeowners and business owners being extorted and threatened by gangs do not have.


We are left to fend for ourselves while you and your parliamentary buddies snap your fingers and poof all police resources get directed to finding lost cellphones or dirty water splashers… oh, what a tragedy that was for you.

Mr Hinds you promised us you would “fight like hell” to get crime under control. And this has left me wondering… what exactly have you been doing since your appointment in 2021? Wasn’t it you who said you were not responsible for making us feel safe?

Why this change of heart, Mr Hinds? You claimed the videos of two women being robbed in downtown Port of Spain bought this on? Were the murders of five children, and the murder of a 13-year-old rape victim not sufficient to weigh on your conscience?

Neil Transport Services

You are welcoming more police into the service and more police cars to increase community patrols, but will this help? Will this protect youth from disadvantaged or abusive homes being lured or threatened into joining gangs? Will this curb guns and drugs coming in and out of the country?

Sir, I do not doubt increased police patrols will have an effect on minor crimes, but they will very rarely touch the cause of the violence and crime in our nation. People will always find a way around.


What should concern you is the lack of confidence that people have in you and our system of law. Let’s be honest, people do not trust the police. They are not ignorant to the fact that among a sea of amazing police officers, there are vipers. Crooked cops willing to sell out informants, working with criminals and aligned with certain criminal elements. Have you or your parliamentary partners discussed this? Are you just throwing new police recruits into a pool where there are sharks waiting to pull them down?

Recently business owners of Bamboo #2 said they were being extorted and threatened by gangs. They are planning to lockdown the area, erect gates and some are even considering leaving the country.


When contacted the head of the North Central Police Division, Senior Superintendent Richard Smith said no reports had been made. I don’t know about you, but this tells me a lot. It tells me and any other person who can extrapolate from incomplete data that the reality of the situation is the business owners do not trust those meant to protect them, that making a report would be a fruitless endeavour or would put them in harm’s way. They would rather cage themselves in or pack up and leave. That, Mr. Hinds, is sad.

I understand you may be saddled with remorse and our prime minister is “damn annoyed”, but so are we. We are all sitting ducks, doesn’t matter where we live or what car we are driving or what is in our bank accounts.


We have become a nation of victims in waiting.

Until we hear a plan to holistically deal with crime through education, social services, partnerships, the eradication of corruption and massive changes in the judicial system, we cannot accept your apologies.

I do hope you show us some fight, maybe then your tears would be taken with less a grain of salt and perhaps some forgiveness.


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