1 Apr 2008

Police corruption becomes famous

The United States Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007 states (in part):

"Police corruption continued to be a problem, with some officials suggesting there were officers who participated in corrupt and illegal activities."

"The Police Complaints Authority receives complaints about the conduct of police officers for transmittal to the Complaints Division of the Police Service, where uniformed officers investigate them. The authority simply monitors the division's investigations and its disciplinary measures."

"The public had little confidence in the police complaints process because the authority had no power to investigate complaints, and because those investigating complaints against the police were themselves police officers."

"The Government or its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings; however, 29 persons died during the year while in police custody or at the hands of law enforcement authorities."

"Authorities investigated or opened inquests into all such killings, but only six per cent of inquiries into police killings of civilians have been completed since 1999. In cases where charges were brought, 50 per cent of the officers were acquitted."

"Although the Constitution and the law prohibit such practices, there were credible reports that police officers and prison guards mistreated individuals under arrest or in detention."

Damning indictment on what we knew all along; on the other hand, I cannot help think that the US commenting on 'human rights' is a sort of oxymoron in itself, given its own history of Abu Gharib, rendition flights and Guantanamo.

But having seen first hand the same situations the report comments on, I know Trinidad and Tobago has a long, long way to go before justice and fair play can even get a foothold there.

In the meantime, we are becoming famous; or it that infamous?