Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 26th 2016 Contents A5
Friday, August 26, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The two other suspects
involved in Wednesday s gun
attack against two off-duty
police officers were arrested
Officers from the North East-
ern Divisional Task Force held
the suspects in two separate
One of them tried to disguise
himself by wearing a hijab, a
headpiece worn by Muslims to
conceal their face.
Police said that suspect, a 35-
year-old man of Valencia, was
held hiding in some bushes suf-
fering from gunshot injuries in
Charlieville, Chaguanas. They
believe he stole the Muslim wear
from someone s clothesline. He
was taken to the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex, Mt
Hope, to undergo emergency
The other suspect, a Barataria
man, was held soon after the
gunfight with the police.
On Wednesday around 2.30
pm, PCs Mervyn Williams and
Adesh Mano were about to enter
Williams home at Edinburgh
500, Chaguanas, when they
were accosted by three suspects.
The off-duty officers
exchanged gunfire with the ban-
dits before they escaped in a
Nissan AD wagon.
Williams was shot in the foot
and taken to the Chaguanas
Health Facility and then was
transferred to EWMSC for treat-
Mano alerted his colleagues
and several units responded.
Police arrested the third suspect
shortly after the crime near the
Monroe Road Flyover after the
suspects abandoned the vehicle.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday
a recent WhatsApp video depicting criminal gang
members displaying sophisticated guns at various
locations in T&T will be addressed by the National
Security Council (NSC) on Tuesday.
Rowley made the comment during yesterday s
post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair, as he admitted to not having seen
the video yet.
Asked about the prevalence of high-powered guns
entering the country undetected and our porous bor-
ders, Rowley said people were still trying and some-
times succeeding in penetrating our coastal borders.
"We know that is the problem. We know we have
maritime borders and have to make them as secure
as possible. Don t forget there is a market in Trinidad
and Tobago for arms and ammunition," the PM said.
But Rowley said some people in the country went
after the arms and ammunition to conduct their daily
"There are people outside of our country who are
hell bent on supplying that market. So whether we
put in place... whether the Coast Guard, fence, a
post, whatever... we always have to aim to be accurate
100 per cent of the time, otherwise some persons
are going to get in with arms and ammunition into
our country. And we have been seeing within recent
times... not just arms, but a higher quality of ammu-
The PM said they were not satisfied with the sit-
uation but were working on the issue.
Rowley also disclosed that the face recognition
system at the Piarco International Airport had been
sabotaged. He said because the National Security
Council had been functioning effectively they were
able to pick up on and rectify "where we have dis-
covered for many months... or God knows for how
long before we came into office that the face recog-
nition system at Piarco Airport had been deliberately
As a result, Rowley said passengers entering and
leaving the airport, including law-abiding and crim-
inals, could not have been identified.
He refused to elaborate on the matter but when
questioned if anyone had been held or arrested he
said he did not know.
"There are certain things that for our own... some-
thing... sometimes are better left unsaid for a while."
In the face of calls from various quarters
for his Government to do more to fight
the criminal elements as the murder toll
approaches 300, Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley yesterday assured the population
that the structure of the State to respond
to those involved in crime was intact, vig-
orous and on the frontburner.
He also welcomed talks with Opposition
Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the issues,
saying he hopes it will not be used to score
Rowley said the police needed to improve
on their response time to crime, while a
deeper trust between the T&T Police Service
and the public needed to be fostered and
a substantive commissioner of police who
we can be held accountable must be
The PM made the comment in response
to the Downtown Owners and Merchants
Association (DOMA) and Chaguanas Cham-
ber s recent criticism of his Government s
failure to bring the rising crime scourge,
and in particular murders, under control.
Speaking at yesterday s post-Cabinet
media briefing at the Office of the Prime
Minister, St Clair, Rowley said the fight
against crime was not simple but a multi-
faceted issue which had implications within
our borders and externally.
"Today, I am hearing that the current
Opposition wants to meet with the Prime
Minister and Government. I welcome that.
I hope out of it will come the collaboration
that is required to allow us as a Government
and a people to treat with crime outside of
the attempts of scoring political points," he
Rowley said although he had not received
any correspondence from Persad-Bissessar,
he hoped there were suggestions which they
could all agree on.
"If there is anything the Government can
do to improve the situation we have no
problem," he added.
Yesterday, Persad Bissessar, in a press
release, asked for an urgent meeting with
Government and members of the national
security teams to engage in a non-partisan
dialogue on a way forward to combat the
serious crime situation which had gripped
Rowley said the frequency of violent
crimes resulting in the lost of life was unac-
"This is nothing new. And the respon-
sibility of the Government to do everything
possible to minimise and eliminate these
outcomes remains as is.
"Nobody in this country is comfortable
seeing a nine-year-old gunned down in
Trinidad and Tobago because criminals have
taken action in that outcome," he said.
The PM assured that "the structure of
State to respond to the criminal element
remains intact, is vigorous and is on the
frontburner. Crime-fighting in Trinidad and
Tobago is at the forefront of the efforts of
this Government. There is no switch that
we can click and change or turn around the
issue. But turn around we must," he said.
Rowley said while certain quarters were
making demands, it was important that the
population understood how they have been
approaching this problem. He appealed to
those who were encouraging crime to desist.
As chair of the National Security Council
(NSC), Rowley responded to DOMA, who
called on him to take charge of the crime
situation. He said as PM he had taken charge
of the NSC "and the council is functioning
and we are in fact providing all the support
that is required for the agencies whose
responsibility it is to treat with the violent
crime scourge in this country."
He said the NSC comprised heads of
security agencies who meet on a regular
basis to monitor and review what the nation-
al security services were doing, how they
were functioning, using resources available
and treating with violent crime. Every Tues-
day, Rowley said the NSC met and the out-
come was withheld from the public.
He said the Police Service Commission
wis also pursuing the matter for a CoP with-
out Government interference.
"That is the area... crime or no crime,
where our parliamentary colleagues have
hung their hats in not supporting our efforts.
People are fearful of governmental inter-
ference in what should be an independent
service commission," he added.
Rowley said the Government s decision
to host a $9 million international crime con-
ference in Port-of- Spain, which had been
condemned by the Chaguanas Chamber and
other organisations, was already sanctioned
by the former government when they
assumed office last September. Initially, he
said the budget for the conference was $16.5
million which was reduced to $9 million.
Suspect held wearing hijab
NSC to view
Collaboration key to success
Rowley welcomes crime talks with Kamla, warns:
PC Mervyn Williams
ahead of next
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