National Security Minister John Sandy is not satisfied that only 15 guns have been confiscated in the crime clean-up operations so far. However, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, who said ammunition was the crux of the problem, is satisfied that more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition have been found. Different views by both state officials came on Day Eight of the state of emergency. Speaking at yesterday's daily media briefing at the National Security Ministry, Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs said the total of those detained and arrested now stands at 789, including 293 persons held for gang related matters.
Gibbs said 117 were arrested between last Saturday and yesterday. (See box at right.) According to the top cop, the total number of weapons was 15 guns. A total of a thousand rounds of ammunition was also discovered since operations began. On whether the Government was satisfied with the number of guns seized, Sandy said: "Totally not." He added: "(But) were we to find one firearm and arrest two people for criminal intent, I'll still say this state of emergency was successful because of what we would have averted." AG Ramlogan added: "What we've seen is that people may have one firearm and it's shared or rotated around gang members to commit crimes. The crux of the matter is ammunition and we've rounded up almost 1,000 rounds-that's potentially 1,000 lives saved."
Gibbs said: "Any guns out of the bad guys' hands is a success-that's one less weapon that can be used for violent or illegal purposes. We start small and continue working." Defence Force head Kenrick Maharaj said army operations had pursued specific targets since Saturday, nabbing one "prominent" gang member in Santa Cruz. Maharaj said Coast Guard patrols in the First Boca, Centipede Island and Gaspar Grande intercepted 44 vessels and 140 people were taken to the Coast Guard's Staubles Bay base for search. He added that Coast Guard operations had been intensified. Maharaj declined comment on reports that the vessels had been at a Down-the-Islands party.
On a report that imprisoned gang members wanted to unite, Ramlogan said they might seem to want to form "a lil crime army" (sic) to fight security forces out of necessity for their own survival. "(But) that will not happen under the security forces' watch," he added. Sandy said prison authorities had decided to separate imprisoned gang members out of concern that they might want to unite. "If what we're hearing is true, we actually wanted them to come together, not fight each other – but it would not be wise (to come after the Government.)"
Asked about the South American connections in the recent $22m drug bust which helped trigger the state of emergency, Sandy confirmed there had been "foreign input." Sandy and Ramlogan said there have been few complaints of brutality or excessive force from the national community during the state of emergency.
• 117 arrested over Saturday and yesterday
• 26 gang-related matters
• 26 drug-related issues
• 16 curfew breaking
• 31 serious criminal offences
• 15 on outstanding warrants
• 15 arrested by army road blocks at Valencia, Tunapuna and Piarco for drugs, drunk driving and other charges.
• One arrested on a vessel at Maracas Bay for possession of an illegal substance.