Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2017 Contents Watson Duke
Business owners worry
over Tobago crime trend
control to seize
There is growing concern in Tobago about the
ease with which criminals are getting guns.
President of the Tobago Chamber Demi John Cruick-
shank blames the authorities because of their failure
to improve security checks at the Port of Scarborough
and make the island's borders more secure.
Noting that there have already been three murders
in Tobago in the first 36 days of the year, Cruickshank
said in times past there would have been just three
murders in a year.
"Now we at three murders, we in the second month of
the year. That is craziness, it is unacceptable," he said.
In 2015, there were seven murders in Tobago. Last
year there were four
"The fact of the matter is that there are a lot more
illegal guns available. We are
concerned about the flow of
illegal drugs and ammuni-
tion which is being trans-
ported via the sea-bridge.
We need to get scanners
on the port so that vehicles
coming in can be scanned,"
The chamber president
said there had been a lot of
talk about scanners at the
port for years but nothing
has been done.
"Now we seeing an in-
crease in gun-related crimes
on the island," he said.
"We cannot close our eyes to the fact that Trinidad
and Tobago is a transhipment point for illegal drugs
and guns. In Tobago there are no border patrols, no
radar system, so we open to illegal activities. Anything
can come in undetected."
Cruickshank is calling for an urgent meeting of the
Tobago House of Assembly (THA), stakeholders on
the island and the Ministries of National Security and
Transport to deal with the problem.
He said there were never any scanners at the Scar-
"When we ask the port officials they blaming the
THA. The THA say they don't have the resources to
address the problem," he said.
Cruickshank warned that if the problem is not ad-
dressed urgently it will affect tourism.
"We already suffering a decline in tourist arrivals
to the island and this will severely put a dent on the
already fragile tourism industry. It will affect both
domestic tourism and international visitors coming
to the country," he said.
Asked whether business people have had to increase
security as a result of rising crime, Cruickshank said:
"A surveillance system costs $100,000, we just cannot
afford it. From our analysis there was a 24 to 30 per
cent decline in sales in 2016. If we have to add security
it will affect our bottom line and carry up the inflation
in business, we did not cater for that. It is an additional
expense that no business owner envisaged."
Other Tobago business owners, who spoke with
the T&T Guardian off the record, would like to see
an increased police presence.
One business owner in Scarborough said: "We need
to see the police out and about. They are doing patrols
but it is not enough."
Cruickshank also wants to see a serious crime plan
brought to the table.
He said the current detection rate in Tobago of 28
per cent was "just not good enough." At a meeting
with the Tobago Chamber, police officers complained
that they do not have the resources and are working
with what they have.
Chairman of the
Tobago Chamber Demi
Thursday, February 9, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Newly installed THA Chief Secretary Kel-
vin Charles could not be reached for
comment, but Minority Leader Wat-
son Duke described the situation on
the island as a crisis.
"Security in Tobago and even in Trin-
idad is a joke," he said.
Duke said there appears
to be no crime plan.
"As a matter of fact I
am saying Kelvin Charles
should resign because he
admitted that he has no
His Progressive Dem-
ocratic Party (PDP) is
planning a march against
"We will meet on
Thursday to discuss the
situation when we will
properly plan the march.
I am not giving too many
details because I want it
to have the element of
surprise," he said.
Duke, who is also pres-
ident of the country's
largest trade union, the
Public Services Associ-
ation (PSA), warned: "If
crime cannot be brought
under control we as the
PSA and the minority of
the THA will ask for the
entire government to re-
"The entire country
living in fear but gov-
ernment officials walk-
ing around with body-
guards and bullet-proof
vests. We elected them
to manage our affairs, to
grow the economy and
keep us safe, but they are
not doing that."
Duke called for mecha-
nisms to be introduced to
reduce crime in Tobago in-
cluding border patrols, rein-
troduction of comfort patrols
on land and expansion of the
"We need to do something.
There are too many illegal guns on the streets,"
"Tobagonians are living as prisoners in their
own homes and there is a sense of fear gripping
Tobagonians," he said.
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