Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Hinds: Crime fight needs specialists
Opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds says the Government needs to urgently reintroduce an independent intelligence-gathering unit to do the kind of work which the Special Anti-crime Unit of T&T (Sautt) was doing. He said it could be called Sautt, “sort out” or any other name they wished, but it is urgently needed if the country is to address the spiralling murders and gang-related violence. The People’s Partnership and the People’s National Movement (PNM) are now collaborating on a plan of action to combat crime in the wake of a series of murders in east Port-of-Spain in recent weeks. In a phone interview with the T&T Guardian, Hinds said the dismantling of the Sautt had left a gap in the country’s crime-fighting efforts which we were now seeing the effects of. “We envisage a specialised entity, separate and apart from the police service,” Hinds said.
Hinds had made similar comments after he represented the PNM at last week’s second round of crime talks with the PP, saying that among initiatives that could be done immediately is the establishment of a special agency for information-gathering. Hinds said both the police and the Defence Force already possess their own specialised intelligence-gathering agencies, but the Opposition is again proposing an independent, specialised and separate entity akin to Sautt. “The work the police are engaged in is so diffuse and multifaceted that it needs to itself be supported and driven by a separate and specialised intelligence-gathering agency,” Hinds said. “We have said a thousand times Sautt did exactly that, because Sautt specialised in dealing with gang-land activity, to great effect.”
Hinds said instead of rectifying Sautt’s illegality and ironing out the kinks after in came into power in 2010, the Government had dismantled it, “thereby denying the Police Service of a significant intelligence platform on which to operate.” Asked about the Government’s criticism of Sautt, Hinds said, “In respect of these matters, they are dumb, blind, deaf, unwashed and clearly don’t have a clue. All they have done is to carry out in government their project of political vindictiveness and political threats against Sautt which were based on the ignorance before they came to government. “And they did so with the help of a few friends in the national security family, who knew better but who suffered from professional and political jealousy,” he said.
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