This country has dangerous gangs, whether they are “Rasta City”, “ABG”, “Sixes”, “Muslims” and all other so-called gangs, and they are creating havoc, says National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
He said this during Wednesday’s Senate debate on the Bail Amendment (Extension) Bill.
Hinds said police initiatives continue on gangs and gang-related offences and 90 people were arrested in the last four-and-a-half years under the Anti-Gang Act, adding certain training is on for the special response teams on this aspect.
Hinds said the bill wasn’t about him, the Government or Opposition but was a matter for the Police Service to protect the people and he stood as an emissary on behalf of the people he represented and the public.
“This (bill) is to deal with repeat offenders who kill us, rape us, burn our businesses, kidnap our family and demand money with menaces!” he said.
Hinds said the TTPS Criminal Records statistics showed 116 people were denied bail over the bill’s 2019-2022 existence. Also, 79 who had criminal records for serious offences and were charged for another were refused bail.
He said it’s fact T&T has, like other countries, become a dangerous place and people were therefore at severe risk. He said he received reports yesterday on detection of a major cocaine find on T&T’s shore and a report about three AR-15 weapons. He noted the TTPS’s gun retrieval exercise targeting “many thousands of illegal guns sneaked in by people.”
But he noted criminals work 25 hours daily and consequently, he’d demanded more of the protective services.
Hinds listed guns found (2, 820), gang-related murders (1,181), gang-related murders with firearms from 2015 to date (1,159), firearms found and seized between 2009 and 2022 (8,831), firearm-related offences from 2009 (24,574), and arrests for firearms between 2010 to 2022 (1,984 over 2019-2022).
He said the guns included about eight from his Laventille West constituency.
“Where people called me and tell me, ‘look they want to get de rid of this’ and want to change their life and I reported to the police and the police took action...I did that in the public interest and I’m proud of it!”
Rubbishing UNC claims that T&T lacks DNA facilities, Hinds listed pathologists, mortuary workers and 21 police ballistics officers. He noted 1,225 backlog cases cleared up, plus 247 cases involving police shootings. Citing matters like the shooting death of Police Constable Clarence Gilkes, he said when authorities call for information, they get it.
Some 3,033 firearm holders got processing. Hinds dismissed UNC concern about some being denied on mere suspicion.
“Tell (that to) the women who get raped....and the person who lost their two sons recently,” he said.
He noted refurbished cells with air-conditioning, proper ventilation, lighting and toilets. Hinds disagreed the bill was unconstitutional.