Trinidad officials issue warning to criminals
Port of Spain – National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds Monday warned criminals that the law enforcement agencies will do everything possible to preserve law and order in Trinidad and Tobago as the country gets ready to lift the state of emergency (SOE) that is part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at a news conference on Saturday night, said that his administration had no intention of seeking a further extension of the SOE when it expires on November 30.
“As of now I don’t have any intention of asking the Parliament to extend it,” Rowley said of the SOE, which came into effect on May 15 was first extended to August 29 and then for a further three months. Among the measures included a curfew that restricted movement mainly at nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Hinds, flanked by senior officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), told a news conference that he had earlier met with the Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Administration Joanne Archie and other stakeholders to discuss national security matters.
Hinds said he was encouraged by the discussions and that he would be conveying the TTPS readiness to the Cabinet.
“As the Prime Minister said . . . the government has no interest in extending the SOE arrangement. With the opening up of society, without the curfew and restrictions . . . [there is] an anticipation that those who are criminally minded are most certainly waiting to exhale.”
“I was happy as the DCP indicated that the police service is acting in anticipation of that and is putting measures in place. I can now return to the Cabinet and inform them that the police service is mindful of the possibilities and has begun plans to ensure they can manage the situation post the removal of those restrictions,” Hinds told reporters.
The senior police officer said that a recent manpower report had been compiled which was used to inform the internal operations of the police service.
“Based on the manpower report we identified that the police service is properly staffed but what is needed is the proper rationalisation of the various units and sections,” Jacob said.
“We always need additional persons because our attrition rate is high. Because of COVID, the recruitment process has slowed down a bit, however, we need to fill that gap,” he said, noting that the TTPS is currently short by around 1 000 officers.
Jacob said currently, an estimated 6 700 officers are employed by the TTPS. (CMC)