A plot hatched by local terrorists to disrupt the process of the May 24 general election has been foiled by law enforcement officers. The plan, hinted by acting Police Commissioner James Philbert at a press briefing yesterday, may have been linked to a small political party with certain religious ties. Up to late yesterday, five people were assisting police with investigations. According to Philbert, who spoke at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, officers from the Western Division swooped down on a house at Mc Kenzie Drive, Carenage, around 9 pm on Thursday.
Police seized a fully-loaded AK-47 assault rifle, two magazines and 48 rounds of ammunition, including 5.56 ammunition. Philbert said 22 green T-shirts, emblazoned with the logo and markings of the New National Vision (NNV) party, also were recovered. He did not say publicly whether the NNV had anything to do with yesterday's seizure or if the police had evidence the gun and ammunition were connected to the NNV, led by the Jamaat al Muslimeen. Philbert, however, said: "We have unearthed credible evidence which shows that a certain group has expressed its intention to disrupt election proceedings. "In searching one of the five persons, a key for a vehicle, which was parked on the compound of that home, was found and when the vehicle was searched these 22 green jerseys were found and seized," Philbert said.
Giving his assurance that the Police Service intended to maintain its mandate "to the fullest extent of the law," Philbert said no one would be allowed to disrupt the election campaign. He said: "We intend to allow no one, no group and whoever they are to stop us from exercising our democratic rights in T&T. "We know who these people are and we know what they intend to do and we are going to use all our resources and services available to ensure that election is free and fair and that the public would be allowed to exercise their constitutional right," Philbert said. He said members from the various political parties had already met with the police and also were given the assurance of safety.
"We have met with all parties to ensure they are safe within the domains to conduct their exercises and election campaigns," Philbert said. He said officers would act "fiercely and fearlessly within the ambit of the law. "By weekend we will have the full participation of all protective services, including the Special Anti Crime Unit of T&T and the Defence Force... the full deployment to support these initiatives," Philbert said.