Is our police force up to scratch for the task? Things in
And, let me not be misunderstood. There are some very good police officers. Unfortunately, they are overwhelmed by the numbers of lazy officers among them, and the total lack of leadership at the top.
I am sure we have all heard by now about the two and a half hour conference the police had with members of the much victimised restauranteurs last Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by Police Commissioner Keithley Benjamin. He answered all the questions. Supts Rudolph Proctor and Illidge Richardson had little or nothing to say. I'm told it was all classic Keithley. The body language signified everything. Keithley is hard to understand at the best of times, as he speaks in a muffled, tight-arsed style. On this occasion, he did nothing to make it easy for his audience to understand, far less take confidence in, his mind-numbing platitudes and assurances. For the entire duration of the meeting, he spoke with his elbows resting on the table, and his hands clasped together – in front of his mouth. He generally avoided eye-contact, making sure he was speaking only to his notes on the table in front of him. Several people had to ask him to speak up, all to no purpose. Even with straining to hear, few could understand what he was talking about.
Someone tells me that this type of body language indicates one of two things. Either you lack confidence in the truth of what you are saying. Or, it indicates the speaker's irritation at having been ordered to a meeting that he did not wish to attend.
Keithley referred to the three successful violent restaurant robberies, and the one attempted but repulsed, that have taken place in recent weeks. He suspects there may be a total of eight different individuals involved.
The Minister of Tourism, the Hon Victor Banks', main contribution was to urge restauranteurs not to arm themselves and act like
A cellphone was found in the vicinity of the Barrel Stay, and one person is in custody over this incident. What he did not say is that it was civilians who discovered the evidence. They had to practically push the police, who responded to the report, out onto the beach to examine the foot prints in the sand.
Both Barrel Stay and Veya victims complained at the meeting that no written statements had been taken from them. They do not know what is happening with the investigation. Police took several hours in each case to examine the crime scene.
Pump House's Gabi was so upset at something that she walked out of the meeting. I must ask her what she was so mad about. I suspect that, as usual, no one in the police force has been in touch with her since the day of the robbery, and she feels frustrated and betrayed.
One classic Keithleyism was his, ”You do not like us, and you don’t believe in us, but we are still serving you!” All the time looking down at his notes, and refusing to look anyone in the face. Well, thanks, I say.
Another, when Keithley was asked if a murder had to happen before things change, was his response, “Well, then, we shall have to find the perpetrator.” I understand this pearl of wisdom had the room stunned for a moment. One or two got up and left. They all should have left the room.
Mango Dave was not reported to me to be present. Maybe he was still in the States. It would be useful to learn what his experience with our Royal police has been like since his robbery.
No update on the gun-toting robbers at Caprice Restaurant. But, no update is ever given to victims. That was one of the problems highlighted.
And, now the Koal Keel has been broken into and burglarized. The security guard is reported to have slept through the whole incident. But this is probably an exaggeration.
The one conclusion that everyone came away from the meeting with was that the police have no plan for dealing with the recent upsurge in gun-carrying, machete-wielding thugs. Victim complaints are all to the same effect. Police response time to crimes in progress stinks. Telephone calls are never returned. Written statements are seldom taken. Crime scene evidence is looked for days after the incident, when the crime scene has long been messed up.
All in all, the séance was standard bull-s+++. “Just permit the restaurant owners to let off steam, and then we can go back to business as usual”, must have been the plan.
Or, so I'm told. Maybe some of the participants can correct this impression if I have been misled.
Isn't there a Brinks equivalent who can visit all the restaurants in the island before closing up time with an armed guard and pick up bags of cash and deliver the bags to the banks for a fee? It would only take two vehicles to go out every night. One for the west and one for the east. Zaras is in a lonely spot, and I am sure Shamash's comfort level would increase. I know that most tourists do not bring cash to the island. Most of them use credit cards or travellers' cheques. But, the bandits do not seem to realise this.
As for the suggestion raised at the meeting that the security guards be armed, I recall during Hurricane Omar a sailboat washed up at
Good luck with arming security guards!