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SAUTT head sacked

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PORT-OF-SPAIN – Less than a week after Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said that the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) established under the former Patrick Manning government had fallen “very short” of delivery, her administration has terminated the appointment of Brigadier Peter Joseph as director of SAUTT with effect from today.
“This decision is necessary to facilitate the much-needed restructuring and re-organisation of SAUTT to ensure a more co-ordinated approach to the gathering of criminal intelligence and the proper training of members of the protective services,” a brief government statement said.
It said that a steering committee comprising the Deputy Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams; the special security consultant to SAUTT, Professor Dr. Daniel Gibran, and the Acting Chief of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of National Security, Julie Browne, would oversee the restructuring process.
The statement said the mandate of the committee would include “the issue of proper financial responsibility and accountability for the over $1billion (US$166 million) spent by SAUTT to date, the need to reintegrate the civilian, Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and Police Personnel into other existing National Security Agencies, and the streamlining and harmonisation of other intelligence operations into SAUTT”.
Last week, Persad Bissessar told parliament that the unit, which she said had conducted telephone bugging on her and other legislators, would be downsized and restructured into two new entities.
SAUTT has denied “spying on the Prime Minister and wiretapping her telephone”. (CMC)