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Kamla not surprised at plot

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Kamla not surprised at plot

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar said Thursday that the plot to assassinate her and senior members of her cabinet was not unexpected since the introduction of a state of emergency (SOE) on August 21 has forced the criminal elements in Trinidad and Tobago to seek reprisals.
Police Commissioner, Wayne Gibbs, who would not divulge much information regarding the ongoing investigations, said that at least a dozen people had been detained for questioning in connection with the plot. Gibbs confirmed that among those detained were former members of the protective services here.
“I am going to be very brief in saying that with the information and intelligence we have received we have put plans in place to counter what we know and we have worked again very hard to ensure the safety of everyone in Trinidad and Tobago”.
“At this time it would be  very imprudent of me to provide any further details as we are still working through what we have and we are still very much engaged in working out the threats to our national security we have received,” he told reporters.
Prime Minister Persad Bissessar told the news conference that while she intends to keep her public engagements, her main concerns were for the “safety and prosperity of the people of Trinidad and Tobago”.
She said she never expected that those who plotted against the security of the state to congratulate her administration for curtailing their ability to operate.
“However, I did anticipate their extreme displeasure. The state of emergency a major impact on crime reduction,” she said, noting that since it was imposed in August there have been 7,269 people arrested with 463 arrested on gang related activities.
The Prime Minister flanked by her National Security Minister retired Brigadier John Sandy, Gibbs and the Acting Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj, told reporters 13,183 rounds of ammunition and  173 firearms had been seized.
She said in addition drugs with an estimated street value of TT$1.5 billion (US$250 million) had been seized and destroyed and that on Monday, there had been the “largest single drug bust” with a street value of TT$55 million (US$9.1 million).
“And so there are people who are hurting, hurting them where it hurts most, the criminal elements (and) that is in their pockets,” she said, adding “ I am not surprised that such elements would make good on threats to carry out reprisals.
“After all we have disrupted their illegal business,” she said, adding “ I am advised by the  law enforcement authorities that they have, through their intelligence resources uncovered an assassination plot against members of my  government and myself.
“I am very grateful to…the law enforcement (officials) who have uncovered such a plot. As a result of their vigilance they have thwarted what was an evil devious act of treason against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Their actions have proven the actions of the government are having the desired effect.
“We are flushing them out, we are making it almost impossible for them to operate as they would have done in the past. These nefarious elements with support from others whose names will come to light in time, are finally confronted by a government which possesses the political will, which possesses the courage, which possesses the strength of conviction to stoutly defend and protect the citizens of our country”.
The Prime Ministers promised not to “cow to these criminal elements” adding, “we will not negotiate with these criminal elements and we will not give them any quarter”.
“The cowardly plot against the people’s government serves only to strengthen my resolve and embolden my effort to eradicate this scourge from our society,” she said, noting that these criminals had “for far too long” been allowed to flourish as untouchables, some with a sinister connection of legitimacy.
“Intense pressure brought to bear by our initiatives will be intensified. I will stop at nothing to return Trinidad and Tobago to the peaceful state we once enjoyed,” she said, reminding journalists that in 1990 when members of the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group staged an unsuccessful coup against the then government of prime minister ANR Robinson, there had been problems with intelligence gathering.
She said that the evidence so far coming out of the Commission of Inquiry set up by her administration to probe the 1990 affair, shows “ the intelligence agencies of the state at that time had reports that something very bad would happen…but did nothing with that.
“And so we will not sit idly by, we must learn from our past mistakes and that is one of the reasons why we agreed for the Commission of Inquiry to take place so we could see what went wrong….
“We will stop at nothing to ensure that we keep the citizenry of Trinidad and Tobago safe and to return our country to the peaceful state we once enjoyed,” she said, adding that the uncovering of the plot and the motives for carrying it out “demonstrate the competency and effectiveness of the government’s national security resources and initiatives”.
The Prime Minister said that she had spoken with the Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley offering to share the intelligence information and that he had accepted the initiative.
She said she had no plans to neither reintroduce the five hour curfew nor seek to extend the SOE, but as had ben the case when they were first introduced here, the matter would be under “constant review by the National Security Council”.