Photo : Ramdath Jagessar

If anybody wanted evidence that Trinidad’s idiot police and equally dumb media are encouraging criminal kidnappers, look no further than the Newsday article of Thursday January 23, 2018.

There under the bold headline “Sukhdeo kidnappers paid $300.000” is a story detailing how kidnappers extracted the money from the family of Sheldon Sukhdeo even though Sheldon was already dead. It seems they had no intention of releasing Sheldon, who was kidnapped five weeks ago and found dead last Sunday.

Are the Trinidad police insane to give such information as the exact amount paid to the kidnappers to Newsday? Was Newsday’s Nalinee Seelal equally lunatic to print that story for all to see? Don’t these fools know that such info as a successful ransom haul of $300,000 would only encourage would be kidnappers from trying their luck?

This report shows either an unbelievable level of naivete or else deliberate disregard for the safety of other wealthy Indians who are the preferred target of kidnappers.  I choose to believe the latter. The police and media can’t be so stupid. Or can they? 

Let’s be clear. The public has no right to such detailed information on ransom payouts that would certainly encourage copycats. Who does it help to reveal that the kidnappers bled the family for $300,000 of a total ransom demand of $2 million? Would it have killed the police to say only that a small ransom was paid out? Wouldn’t it have been better not to say anything at all about dollar amounts of ransom demand or payout?

It seems the police and media have learned nothing from the successful quashing of telephone bomb threats in the eighties in Trinidad. Some readers may remember the rash of bomb threats that had office buildings and schools regularly evacuating people to let the police search for bombs. The more bomb threats were reported in the media, the more seemed to be coming.

Finally the police came to their senses and decided not to release any more statements about fake bomb threats. The media cooperated and stopped printing or broadcasting bomb threats. And just like that the bomb threats melted away and disappeared.  It was the publicity that was fuelling the mischievous bomb threats. No publicity, no point in calling in bomb threats.

Do we have to force the police and media to come to their senses about reporting of kidnapping cases? Do we need to force the police and media to listen to a public relations expert?

Maybe Trinidad police need to have a chat with the FBI in America or the RCMP in Canada. Both countries are packed with millionaires and billionaires, but have almost no kidnapping for ransom. There’s one good reason for that. The weak point in ransom kidnapping is the collecting of the ransom cash. FBI and RCMP stake out the pick up spot and arrest the criminal coming to pick up the cash and this person sells out his colleagues and that’s the end of the kidnapping.

Trinidad police seem not to have heard of this tried and proven police kidnap tactic. I don’t remember every hearing about Trinidad police capturing a kidnapper coming to collect the ransom. Have you?

Something is seriously wrong with the way Trinidad police handle ransom kidnapping overall and the media are equally guilty of gross stupidity and lack of empathy for kidnap victims, their families and potential victims.

The new police commissioner seems to have a good head on his shoulders, unlike the Kidnapping Squad which has its head up a much lower place.  Put a hand Mr Commissioner. Trinidad’s reputation is at stake.  When I ask my son if he wants to make a holiday trip to Trinidad he always asks if they are still kidnapping people down there. When I answer yes he replies no way he won’t go.