Fifty-six gang members were among 117 people arrested in operations by security forces between Tuesday night and yesterday morning, according to Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs.Gibbs gave the statistics at a media briefing at Riverside Plaza yesterday where he also explained his recent absence.The briefing was held at the plaza currently occupied by the Special Anti Crime Unit (SAUTT) which the PP administration has given orders to disband.SAUTT's tenure ends next Wednesday, August 31. The unit will be absorbed into the revamped Strategic Services Agency (SSA).Gibbs said 48 other people were arrested for drug offences, four for firearms and one in connection with homicide.
Eight other persons were arrested in connection with serious crimes.Gibbs said two firearms, 18 rounds of ammunition and a cartridge were seized.Asked about the perceive failure of the state of emergency to net any "big fish", National Security Minister John Sandy said in the "not too distant future," the perception that only "small fry" were being nabbed, would change."We have rounded up people, including gang leaders," Sandy added.Saying the police were instructed not to use more force than is necessary in the conduct of their duties, Sandy added: "They must be firm and determined. I'm saying this to allay fears by citizens that while some of your constitutional rights might be taken away temporarily, the intent is to make you more comfortable and not to increase any inconvenience that you are already under."
He said there were no homicides in the period of the state of emergency and Government hoped to keep it that way.Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj said three people were detained in Tobago with illegal drugs.He said Defence Forces had conducted 26 operations and two jointly with police in the north and southern "hot spots".He said the Air and Coast Guard were also on patrol, particularly at east and north coast borders, and ground forces were monitoring areas not under curfew and vehicular movements around T&T in the event gang leaders seek to shift "operations."
Maharaj confirmed that a special operation was now in train at Tomato Trace, Diego Martin, where it was reported on Tuesday that two family members were attacked and robbed by persons at 4 am on Monday during the curfew in that "hot spot" area.When asked about that incident at Tuesday's media briefing, then acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams was unable to verify it.Sandy said the curfew pass issue has been "tidied up" and most of those who requested had received them.
AG to members: Now is time to blow whistle
Gang members who want to get out of the "business" should "blow the whistle" on their gang colleagues to the security forces, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan urged yesterday."Now is the time to rescue yourself if you share information about your gang and we'll be able to snuff out the lifeblood of that gang so you can have a life of your own," Ramlogan advised would-be "whistle blowers"."Now is your time to help yourself and to make a difference to yourself," he added.
Ramlogan said all information would "be held in strictest confidence."He said a National Hotline was being established within the next 24 hours for the public to give police information and tips.He said some tips have been hoaxes, including a recent one in which police were called out to investigate the false hint that a bus had overturned on the highway and looting had been taking place.