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Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Griffith: Give me 12 months to crush crime
A National Security Operation Centre (NSOC), a counterterrorist unit/K-nine unit stationed at the airport and prisons, a national security training academy and closer ties with South America are just some of the Government’s plans to fight crime. These and other security initiatives were announced by National Security Minister Gary Griffith during a St Joseph by-election community meeting at Bamboo Village No 1, Valsayn, on Wednesday night. Griffith said while the People’s National Movement (PNM) was talking about the Government not having a crime plan, the Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration had done more in fighting crime in its three years in office than the PNM had done in its 12 years in office. “What was not produced in national security in 12 years we will produce in 12 months,” he said.
Speaking about the PNM’s crime-fighting intelligence unit, Special Anti-crime Unit of T&T (Sautt), Griffith said it was a waste of time and that the murder rate was at its highest—548—when Sautt was at its best. “They were extracting all the assets from the police...they hurt and compromised the police,” he said. “What this Government is doing is turning it around. The T&T police are supposed to be T&T’s finest. We will give them the resources, the training and the support. We will not sideline them like the PNM...we will make sure that they have the necessary resources to protect you, the people of T&T.” He said the PNM’s plan, should they return to office, was to bring back a defective Sautt which only proved to be a “macco meter.” Recalling the appointment of junior technician Reshmi Ramnarine to head the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA), Griffith said while it continues to be a topic, Ramnarine was only there for three days but for several years Sautt was “maccoing” and spying on law-abiding citizens. “So when PNM fanatics talk about Reshmi ask them that. Why is it that he used intelligence resources to tap, spy, macco?” Griffith asked residents.
He said the NSOC was going to bridge the gap and all the law enforcement agencies would work together, understanding each other—having joint intelligence and joint operations instead of Sautt. Naming the various security operations ongoing and those on the way, Griffith said: “We have a highway patrol for the first time, you are seeing visibility. We are bringing Bill Bratton, the man most successful in reducing crime worldwide. We are using computerised statistics, intelligence gathering, covert operations—getting the public and the police to work together, proper acquisition of data to turn into evidence, crime scene investigations, community policing and we have forged better relationships and co-operation with our allies like Colombia and Venezuela.”
He said the installation of coast guards all around the island was also in the making. In addition, the ministry was in the process of setting up a regional security headquarters to work with Caricom.
Another of its initiatives are radar speed guns to fight the high occurrence of road fatalities. Griffith said the national security training academy's main objective was to train police in customer service. “This is the first government that has stood up and tackled the gangs head-on,” he said. “We are not negotiating with criminals. The PNM would take them to the Crowne Plaza and give them mauby and cornflakes. We are not doing that.” Another initiative, he said, was the introduction of virtual police officers. He said these officers will operate online to assist citizens. “Give them the information, they will extract it, give it to Ian Alleyne and we are going to work together to beat crime,” Griffith said.
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