IPA Sponsor Section Appointment for Trinidad and Tobago

29 Sep 2020


tt1On behalf of the International Executive Board (IEB), I am pleased to announce that Section USA has now been officially appointed to act as Sponsor Section for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), with the aim of assisting in the establishment of a new IPA section in the country. This step will provide T&T with a detailed path of progression towards affiliation as an independent IPA section.

IPA USA President Joe Johnson wrote the following when he received the notification of appointment:  “The US Section is honored to be selected as the sponsor for Trinidad and Tobago as they begin the process of becoming their own section within the IPA. It is great to see new sections forming in new areas of the globe and to offer more opportunities to our membership globally. I’m excited to work with them, and with the great support the Trinidad and Tobago group has given to projects like the US Section training program I know they will do well as new section.

For the past few years, IPA USA has had 50 – 100 Foreign Associate Members (FAMs) in T&T, enrolled in Region 101. These members arranged IPA events for the region and were also invited to police colleges on the islands. IPA USA approached me in my capacity as Secretary General, in charge of the development of new sections in the IPA, on how to go forward with the development of a new section.

A review was initiated by the SG on the national progress of IPA USA and their willingness to assist T&T, as well as a background check of the T&T police service and the country’s history with regard to human rights and the UN.

A little bit of background information: The Ministry of National Security governs the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), and their motto is “To Protect and Serve with P.R.I.D.E.”: Professionalism - Respect - Integrity - Dignity – Excellence. The TTPS is both a civil and paramilitary body which functions in accordance with the Police Service Act. Over 6,500 police officers, as well as the Special Reserve Police are organised in 9 divisions which cover Trinidad & Tobago in 18 branches, squads and units. During the term of office of the former National Police Commissioner, numerous police officers were sent to Cambridge University in England to further their academic education in evidence-based policing. The present National Police Commissioner, Gary Griffith, is also a scholar with academic qualifications obtained in the UK. The Foreign Associates’ contact with the Police Authorities is promising, and steps have been taken to present supporting documents for the future IPA T&T.

T&T, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a state with two main islands and 21 smaller islands in the West Indies. When Christopher Columbus reached the islands in 1498, they were inhabited by Amerindians. From the 16th century, Trinidad was a Spanish colony. During the French revolution, many French citizens came to Trinidad as well as from the French colonies Martinique and Guadeloupe. The French plantation owners brought their African slaves and started to grow sugar cane, coffee and cocoa. Slavery was banned in the mid-19th century, which was followed by a lack of cheap labour and led to a labour migration of Indians, Chinese and Portuguese. At the beginning of the 20th century, immigrants also came from Syria and Lebanon.

The island Trinidad was taken by the British in 1797 and became a British colony in 1802.  In 1899, the British joined the administration between the two islands, Trinidad and Tobago into one – beforehand, Tobago had been a colony of Spain, the Netherlands, Latvia and France. In 1962, Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence and became a republic in 1976.

Culturally T &T has produced two Nobel Prize winners: V.S. Naipaul (2001) and Sir Derek Walcott (1992). Many of us know of the T&T carnival, which is recognised as the largest in the world and is characterised by limbo, calypso and steelpans plus a masquerade train. In sports, the people of T&T enjoy cricket, football and golf.Today, T&T export petroleum products and cocoa, among many other products to neighbouring countries.

tt3

To encourage the FAMs in T&T, IPA President Pierre-Martin Moulin wrote to their representative Mr. Curtis S. Belford: “We are looking forward to the seeing the progress the IPA can make in your country and wish you all the best.

Following the letter announcing the IPA USA appointment, Curtis S. Belford wrote: “This is certainly exciting news.  We are especially pleased that the United States Section, with whom we have shared a cordial and meaningful partnership over the years, has agreed to be our sponsor.  We look forward to expert guidance from the President of IPA USA, Joe Johnson, and IPA Secretary General, May-Britt V.R. Ronnebro, as we move closer to section status.

I am pleased to have good and promising contact with the representatives of IPA USA and the FAMs in T&T, and welcome this first and important step for them to become part of the IPA family.

May-Britt V.R. Ronnebro, Secretary General