So I’m not one to usually look a gift horse in the mouth, far less ten gift horses, but it is difficult to see the practicality for which the recent equine additions to the Police Service will bring. Only today, not 20 meters away from the newly reopened Red House in Port of Spain, there lay a fresh mound of horse dung slowly decomposing on the street. Overlooking the smell and the image of the load of crap that was deposited on the road in the capital city by the member of the Police Force, technically the droppings also breach the Litter Act of T&T, which means that either the officer or the horse is in violation of the law by failing to clean up the mess.
Information on the acquisition of these ten horses from the Government of Holland has been limited to say the least, as such, I am unaware of whether the gift is fulfilling any request by the TTPS.
That being said, having some inclination as to how such subventions materialise, I can surmise that there must have been some discussions on the matter prior to the arrival of the steeds. Given the more critical items which the TTPS has been clamouring for in their war on crime, you would think that horses would be further down on their list of priorities at this time. And really with the care and maintenance that these animals require, you have to wonder if these horses would not increase the burden of the TTPS rather than relieve it.
When I first learned of this news, the memory of two similar incidents immediately returned to mind. The first being the acquisition of the blimp by the former Patrick Manning administration, and the second was the recent gift of two hundred motorcycles by the Chinese government in August 2019. While many would still remember the catastrophic failure that was the blimp, due to its limited speed and stealth, the underlying problem had less to do with the abilities of the craft, but rather was the fact that it just was not suitable to the task that it was meant to carry out.
That being said, while there has been little coverage on the progress of the motorcycles at the TTPS during the first six months that they were deployed, I would wager that they have had as much if not less success than the blimp ever did. While I am sure that these bikes may serve some tertiary purpose in the Police Service, they are limited in their capabilities based on the environment and the terrain in which they operate. Because overlooking the weather, flooding, traffic congestion and the lack of protection for officers during a high chase pursuit or gun battle, the continued deterioration of the roadways and increase in potholes alone is enough to impede the practicality of a motorcycle in an emergency situation. Moreover, is the fact that the metal shoes worn by horses only further contribute to this problem.
During the most recent sitting of the House of Representatives, Dr. Roodal Moonilal revealed that approximately 40 percent of the CCTV cameras that are meant to provide surveillance for the TTPS are currently nonfunctional due to a lapse in a maintenance contract. But just as easily as those concerns were dismissed in the House, in conjunction with any debate on the matter of crime as a whole, today we find the government celebrating the arrival of some horses that no one expects will have any impact in the fight against crime.
This all being said, in a weird way it does make some sense that after the Lone Ranger became Commissioner of Police he would be looking for a batch of new stallions for his deputies. Now that he has them though, the time is past overdue for Gary Griffith to follow through on his promise to clean up the town.