Jul 1, 2010

72 Vagrants in court|www.newsday.co.tt


A POLICE EXERCISE on Tuesday, resulted in the arrest and removal of an estimated 72 vagrants from the streets of Port-of-Spain. The exercise which was headed by acting ASP Randolph Boyce and included Sgt Tom and Cpl Joshua Pierre, took place on Tuesday between 8 am and 2.30 pm.

The arrested persons were kept in custody and brought yesterday to the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court where the majority of them were charged with loitering, possession of apparatuses modified for drug use and using annoying language.

Because of the large number of persons arrested in the exercise, remand prisoners for ongoing court matters were once again not brought to court, this time to facilitate the processing of the vagrants.

The cases were also separated and the arrested persons were brought before the Tenth, Third and 4A courts. Forty-two of the cases were dealt with by Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas- Ragoonanan in 4A. Of this list, eight of the persons were women. seven cases were dismissed. One man, Errol Bruce, pleaded guilty to possession of a device and was jailed for six months hard labour. About 15 of the vagrants were ordered sent to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital for observation, while the remaining individuals were placed on bonds of $750 and ordered to return to court at a later date.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday in a brief telephone interview, Boyce explained that the exercise was part of the ongoing anti crime operations along the George Street, Nelson Street and Duncan street areas.


I have reposted the entire article as it appears in today's Newsday daily newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago. What is wrong here? I guess I understand the need to 'help' the homeless and vagrants who can be a nuisance however, most of these people have nothing. They don't have a home some may be mentally ill, and all of them cannot deal with the outcome... ah ha that is it the "outcome". What really in the goal of hauling them before the courts and charging them with a 'crime'. If being homeless is a crime then jail the people and help them. Maybe then they will get a good meal, have a shower and be protected from the elements and the people who take advantage of them. 

Of course you should know that I don't believe that putting these people in prison is the answer but shouldn't the social services be called in to assist these individuals instead of 'hauling them before a magistrate? This was just a wasted exercise done for the sake of the press to make people believe that something is being done to correct the problem. Do you believe that these people care about the outcome from their appearance in court? 

I don't know what the the answer to this problem is because I don't know if the social services exist to deal with the problem. We have to wait and see what the police and social services are really trying to do here. What really is the plan to help these destitute people? That is what the government needs to relate to us before acting as they did. What is your opinion?

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