Don’t Release Murder Statistics Or We’ll Have More Crime: Trinidad Security Minister
By Palash R. Ghosh | October 12, 2012 6:06 AM EST
In a gesture worthy of George Orwell’s “1984,” the National Security Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has ordered the police of the small Caribbean nation to cease publishing statistics of crime and murder.
Jack Warner said such reports only encouraged people to commit more violent crimes.
"They want to make news, they want to make headlines," Warner said.
"I decided with immediate effect that no figures of any kind will be given anywhere... I've also instructed the police not to reveal any figures on murders anywhere, anytime."
Warner further explained: "The intent of this measure is to seek to ensure that crime statistics are not sensationalized, thereby acting as a domino effect in certain hot-spot areas. The issue is not about withholding the statistics. It is about the management of the sensitive information that has the potential to inflame additional crime -- particularly when treating the issue of gangs."
He also accused the opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) party of using police statistics to stir up trouble in the country, sparking fury from the opposition.
“This [violence] could be avoided if the PNM weren’t sponsoring crime,” Warner said.
However, the Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said that he will ignore Warner’s order, adding that the police are legally obligated to disclose crime figures.
"The matter of dissemination of information to the public is one which I believe the police service has a legal obligation to fulfill, and we will in fact be fulfilling our legal obligation," Williams said.
"[This] is not a matter which the minister [Warner] has authority to instruct the commissioner of police on."
Warner, a former vice president of Fifa, the global soccer organization, is a controversial figure, who was once accused of handing out bribes to Caribbean football associations in connection with a FIFA presidential election. (He denied any wrongdoing)
According to the TTCrime.com website, murders in the country have actually been decreasing. Reaching a peak of 550 homicides in 2008, the number of killings has fallen to 354 in 2011, and 314 so far this year.
Warner’s call to halt the release of murder data came in the wake of a high-profile killing of a young man named Stephon Morris in Laventille, a particularly poor and dangerous ward in Trinidad. Morris was shot almost 30 times.
Thousands of Trinidadians criticized Warner on social media, in some cases, calling for his resignation.
“We need to keep abreast of social matters. How else would we know whether or not there has been an improvement? The public must not be kept in the dark with regard to the stats,” said someone named Sparkle John, according to the Associated Press.
Felicia Persaud, the CEO of Hard Beat Communications in New York and an expert on Caribbean matters, commented on the Warner imbroglio: "Given that Trinidad & Tobago is a democratic nation, it boggles my mind that a minister of [Prime Minister] Kamla Persaud Bissessar’s administration would make such a decision. It gives the impression that there is something worth hiding and that the crime rates may mean [Trinidad and Tobago] is still among the nations in the world with the most murder per capita."
Still, crime, much of it fueled by drug trafficking, remains a serious problem in the country. Located just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago comprises a little more than 1.3-million people, primarily of East Indian and African origin. The islands have become a major hub of cocaine shipments originating in Latin America.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Kate Middleton’s Mom Accused Of Being A Social Climber, Prince George Not Seen By Relatives
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Boards London Train in Casual Disguise, Royal Couple’s Incognito Plan A Huge Hit [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt’s Top Secret Wedding Tramps Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Friends’ Reunion & Pregnancy Talks [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 is iPhone Air on Sept 19 Release Date: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying
- Pricey iPhone 6 on Release Date Likely but with 3X Retina Resolution & Mobile Payment Service – Reports
- Nexus 6 Release Date Update: Moto X+1 Look Leaked, Nexus X or Shamu Moved to Demo Phase
- Google Nexus 8 Confirmed as HTC T1 aka Volantis/Flounder with Freshly-Leaked Specs & Features – Reports
- Europe, US Next on ISIS’ Hit List, Says Saudi King; Seized ISIS Laptop Reveals Terrifying Bio-Warfare Plans
- iPhone 6 On Release Date To Feature Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE, 1GB RAM, Mobile Payment Deal With AMEX, 1334x750 Display
- HTC One M8 for Windows Vs. Nokia Lumia Icon, The Battle Of Windows Phones