In the coming days, the Ministry of National Security will launch an intelligence-driven operation to take down the criminal elements and provide safety to law-abiding citizens.
This was the word from National Security Minister Stuart Young during a press conference at his Port-of-Spain office yesterday, as he warned citizens that they intend to make a “hard push back” against criminals which would result in inconveniences at undisclosed areas across the country. The exercises will be spearheaded by members of the TT Police Service, T&T Defence Force and other agencies.
Young insisted that this strike back against the criminals will not involve a limited state of emergency in crime hot spot areas but will see “increased intelligence-driven operations” to bring those who seem to be untouchable down.
Young said they have intelligence on why certain activities have been taking place in recent times. Within the last few weeks, Sea Lots, East Port-of-Spain, Carenage and Enterprise have been plagued by gang and gun violence. He described Sea Lots as being out of control with its recent upsurge in gun violence.
Young admitted that a small group of criminals have been conducting illegal activities which the Government was concerned about. With the current murder rate at 67, he said they opted to roll out their anti-crime operations, where criminals will face a hard-line approach while a new type of policing will be introduced.
“Intelligence has been gathered for a number of months for the preparation of certain operations. When these operations are launched there is going to be a level of inconvenience, unfortunately to the law-abiding citizens, in particular areas,” he said.
He warned that the Government will not protect anyone.
“I certainly am not afraid of no criminal element in T&T...nor will I be intimidated. The Government is not going to sit back and let things continue as it has been,” a tough-talking Young said.
“Unless we take this stand now ... unless we change now ... take back our country now and the stars are aligning in my view...it will only get worst. We cannot allow the criminal elements to get more emboldened. The only way to push back at the criminal elements is for us to change the narrative. It is time we dictate the pace and we go on the offensive.”
Yesterday, Young met with heads of security agencies and afterwards promised that they will utilise the State’s resources to “beat criminals into submission.”
Under the Anti-Gang legislation, Young said charges can be laid against gang members and leaders and “searches of places dealing with gangs... detention of persons dealing with persons who are related to gang activities” will take place.
If any gang member or leader threatens or encourages someone to join a gang, Young said they can be charged, as he reminded the TTPS to use this as a vital tool in the current crime-fighting operation. At a Joint Select Committee into the TT Police Service last month, it was revealed that only seven people have so far been charged under the legislation.