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Send signal in WPC Joseph’s honour

Friday, March 17, 2017

The events of the last 72 hours, as members of the T&T Police Service and Coast Guard searched for WPC Nyasha Joseph—who it now seems was murdered soon after she went missing—have quickly made us all well aware of the desperate situation in which the country finds itself regarding the scourge of murder.

Indeed, as T&T reflects on yet another life snuffed out too early, what is most disheartening is that this was yet another woman slain in what can now be truly called a siege against females in this society. This does not discount the men who have been killed, of course.

That she was also a police officer snatched and killed in her uniform also suggests blatant disregard of criminals for even law enforcement officers.

Several ministers of national security have tried to convince society that these criminals are in the minority. However, with the type of fear they have managed to instil in most of the population—some 103 people have been killed in just the first three months of the year—are law-abiding citizens wrong to fear for their lives?

As the narrative goes from those in authority, the majority of the killings are gang and drug-related. Unless Joseph’s killing is eventually linked to her job, she was a law-abiding citizen and her murder, from all early indicators, may be a domestic-related matter.

On another note, when the media on Wednesday questioned ACP Wayne Dick on the manner in which the police went about this investigation and the perception that it was approached more vigorously than others because Joseph was a member of the TTPS, Dick was at pains to convince journalists otherwise. He said they were treating Joseph’s disappearance and then murder as they would any other case.

Had Joseph not been a police officer, would the TTPS have co-opted services of their Coast Guard colleagues or raided Sea Lots and environs as many times as they did during the search for the missing WPC? In fact, the lockdown of Sea Lots during the search was so intense that it yielded at least two major drug busts and led to arrests. This only goes to show that the intensified presence of law enforcement can affect detection of any form of criminal activity.

While citizens are not exactly complaining about the apparent overzealousness of the searches for Joseph, they are concerned about the lack of parity in other similar cases and in the fight to rid the streets of the criminals. That includes white-collar criminals who operate in more low-key circumstances than the brazen felons who targeted Joseph.

On that note, the police should also take cognizance of the many social media postings about the case. While some users of this medium abuse it during cases like the current one to spread fear and panic, it is now clear that some individuals with knowledge of what went on in Joseph’s life have been going to great lengths to paint a picture or at least guide officers along a certain path.

The police, during the investigation of the case, described some of the postings as malicious. However, they should not discredit all and should pursue any angle in their investigations.

Dick and his colleagues need to force all perpetrators of illegal acts to cower in fear in the knowledge that law enforcement will soon be down their throats with a vigour that will see them apprehended, hauled before the courts and convicted for their violent acts against society. Do this in honour of Joseph and all the women murdered before her.


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