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Carnival plot probe continuing—Young

Published: 
Friday, June 15, 2018

Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young yesterday expressed skepticism about claims made by Sangre Grande resident Keegan Roopchand that the so-called Carnival plot was a scripted hoax he was forced to recite by Jordanian security officials who tortured him.

In an exclusive story in the T&T Guardian yesterday, Roopchand, who was detained for four months in Jordan, insisted he was pressured by Jordanian authorities attempting to link him with a terror plot in T&T and the Islamic State (ISIS). He also claimed the Jordanians “scripted a plot”, rehearsed it with him many times over and forced him to go along with it.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Young recalled the population was alerted about a “terrorism threat” ahead of Carnival and the national security agencies had carried out a number of operations.

“It is important to note that that information came from our partners...international intelligence agencies, both the Jordanians and other allies of T&T. We find it very interesting,” Young said, noting the word “scripted” was used by Roopchand.
“Let us be honest here, we are now seeing a script being recited by Mr Roopchand and others. It plays no part of what is taking place with the ongoing investigations from the part of deterring law enforcement from doing what it has to do.”

In fact, Young said National Security Minister Edmund Dillon has been working with his ministry and meeting with heads of law enforcement to put proper measures in place. Having met with law enforcement officers trained in anti-terrorism during his recent trip to Australia, Young said “they shared information with us, as well as legislation on how they deal with it.”

Young said when he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London recently and met with anti-terrorism and intelligence agencies.

“What took place at Carnival is very real intelligence. In fact, when we were doing the operations we built it out. We had some things take place very recently last week with some heavy arms and ammunition finds in a certain place. This is part of the real narrative.”

He said it was expected that people who are accused would want to give their side of the story, but that was “being analysed.” He reminded that when Roopchand returned to Trinidad from Jordan he was detained and interviewed.

“And at that stage he chose to say nothing. So it is not surprising now two…three weeks later he has a long statement and a long script that we have concerns about when we look at with a level of skepticism.

There is an ongoing and continuing investigation, part of which continues to be the whole monitoring of persons who there are concerns with respect to.”

Asked if the T&T Government will communicate with the Jordanian government to verify Roopchand’s claim, Young replied, “Do not for a moment think that we have not already done what you have just described…not us but law enforcement agencies and that an investigation is taking place, in building our file and evidence.”

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