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Embarrassingly easy jailbreaks

Published: 
Saturday, December 2, 2017

While the T&T Police Service may be patting itself on the back over the relatively quick recapture of prison escapee Vicky Boodram, her jailbreak will go down in history as one of the most glaring demonstrations of the vulnerability, weakness and failure in some of our security services.

We are hopeful that the Professional Standards Bureau will act quickly in this matter, since it may be the only way the public will be able to maintain the little semblance of confidence it has in the service. The access to the resources which secured Boodram’s fake release played a key role in this matter. Checks and balances to ensure security also simply failed across the board. It appears the Prisons and Police Services are either ill-equipped or untrained. Digital platforms to verify court dates, bail and other documents are unavailable and the agencies so inextricably linked are simply out of sync. So even as she is returned to prison, the public has been given no guarantee that what happened with Boodram can’t and won’t happen again. Another recent escapee, Hamilton Small, remains at large. The circumstances surrounding his escape should be equally scrutinised. Boodram’s is not the first prison escape in recent years, hers is simply the most public, colourful and therefore the most embarrassing.

Standing against sexual harassment

At a time when companies in the United States are dismissing influential personalities accused of sexual harassment, a court battle is looming in this country over the termination of a woman who alleged sexual harassment against an executive of a world-famous local company. The local matter was reported in the media, investigated by the company and the executive was eventually cleared. While the evidence in each of these cases must be carefully examined, sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue in this country. Culture has blurred the line between local “sweet talk” and harassment and progressive work environments have been challenged in their attempts to make determinations on the issue. Definitions on paper have done little to change the situation. It’s time for a conversation on the issue, not just in parliament, but in workplaces across the country. Punishing the victim is as offensive as allegations against an innocent party. It’s time to take this conversation forward.

Keep kicking, Dwight

This newspaper would like to congratulate former T&T footballer Dwight Yorke for speaking out on the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs’ failure to address issues at the stadium in his name in Tobago. It is inconceivable that after spending billions on sporting facilities, those in authority put little importance on their upkeep—to the detriment of young aspiring athletes across the country. Maybe Yorke’s concern will light a fire in the right places.