Trinidad and Tobago Extends Police Commissioner's Contract Amid Crime Concerns

Trinidad and Tobago's Cabinet extends Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher's contract for one year, effective May 15, 2024. The decision comes amid rising crime rates and national security concerns, sparking mixed reactions from stakeholders.

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Nitish Verma
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Trinidad and Tobago Extends Police Commissioner's Contract Amid Crime Concerns

Trinidad and Tobago Extends Police Commissioner's Contract Amid Crime Concerns

Trinidad and Tobago's Cabinet has extended the contract of Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher for one year, effective May 15, 2024. The decision, announced in a press release by the Office of the Prime Minister on May 13, comes amid concerns over rising crime rates and national security in the country.

Why this matters: The extension of the Commissioner's contract has significant implications for the country's efforts to address its crime problem, which affects not only the safety of citizens but also the overall economy and social stability. The government's handling of this issue will be closely watched, as it may influence public trust and confidence in the authorities.

According to the release, the Cabinet advised President Christine Kangaloo on May 7 to extend Harewood-Christopher's contract under Section 75(a) of the Police Service Act. The move comes as Trinidad and Tobago has recently surpassed 200 murders in 2024, sparking widespread concern among citizens and calls for improved security measures.

Harewood-Christopher, who was initially appointed as Commissioner of Police in February 2023 after being approved by Parliament, reached the age of 60 in May 2023. Her contract was previously extended by one year. The latest extension has sparked mixed reactions from various stakeholders, including Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former Commissioner Gary Griffith.

Former Commissioner Gary Griffith has weighed in on the issue, stating, "The Commissioner has failed to deliver on her promises to reduce crime, and this extension is a bad decision." Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has also expressed concerns, arguing that "the government's approach to addressing crime and national security is inadequate, and the extension of the Commissioner's contract is a clear indication of their lack of commitment to addressing these issues."

On Saturday, May 11, Harewood-Christopher avoided questions from the media at the 101st Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Sport and Family Day. Last week, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal challenging the validity of Harewood-Christopher's extension as top cop last year.

The government has faced criticism for its handling of the crime situation, with many arguing that more needs to be done to address the root causes of crime and to improve the effectiveness of the police service. The extension of Harewood-Christopher's contract for another year is likely to fuel further debate over the government's approach to tackling crime and ensuring national security in Trinidad and Tobago.

Key Takeaways

  • Trinidad and Tobago's Cabinet extends Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher's contract for 1 year.
  • The extension comes amid rising crime rates and national security concerns in the country.
  • Harewood-Christopher's contract was previously extended by 1 year, sparking mixed reactions from stakeholders.
  • Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former Commissioner Gary Griffith criticize the extension.
  • The government's handling of crime and national security will be closely watched by the public.