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Yesterday, Trinidadians were awakened to the news that five more citizens had lost their lives to the criminal element. The killings were stunningly committed in less than 24-hours and were spread across the country’s east-west corridor, which, when taken in tandem with other murders previously, means no community in Trinidad and Tobago is safe anymore.

With the State of Emergency set to be lifted by the Government today, many citizens are also of the belief that the criminal element will again unleash a renewed reign of terror on law-abiding citizens which the SoE, although implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, also inadvertently brought some relief to.

It was thus disheartening to hear National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds recently make this same assertion. Surely, even if this is the stark truth facing the country, Minister Hinds should know convincing the public that the various heads of law enforcement would keep the criminals at bay should have been done more vociferously.

Of course, the current surge in murders is evidence enough that the T&T Police Service has lost its handle on the killing spree which has been ongoing despite the SoE measures. Indeed, the killers on the loose have been operating with apparent impunity.

How else can one explain the brazenness of these recent killings and the fact that the perpetrators, from several accounts, are armed with high-powered weapons that would make even the police officers tasked with tracking them cringe?

Yet, one can argue that these criminals also come from communities that hold equal responsibility for helping the TTPS to weed them out and bring them to justice.

Having said that, the killers of two women recently, Monica Jagroop and Rehana Jaggernauth, remain at large days after their heinous crimes. The probe into Jeneka Guerra’s murder before them was also heading down a similar path until police got a lucky break after inadvertently stopping men who had been co-opted to assist the main perpetrator in getting rid of her body because they were acting suspiciously in the vehicle they were in.

Somebody in the communities where these women’s lives were cut short knows something or someone who does. Why, therefore, are their killers still walking free, perhaps to commit similar crimes on other innocent women? Why isn’t the TTPS getting the information to catch the perpetrators, thus allowing their relatives some closure in these cases?

Those familiar with the phrase it takes a village to raise a child will also be aware that in the societies which expound this type of ideology, individuals are nurtured along a path of good and criminals are rejected. This action, however, is not only be extended to those engaging in major crimes but all deviant behaviour.

It is this perhaps time, therefore, that T&T returns to this mode of thinking and those citizens in the villages which are home to a minority of people bent on nefarious activity expose them. The TTPS certainly cannot do it alone and it may well be that each individual being their brother and sister’s keepers could lead us back to becoming a more law-abiding society.