Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2017 Contents news A5
Saturday, February 11, 2017 guardian.co.tt
'Help us find them'
"Help us find them."
Government yesterday called
on representatives of certain
local Muslims organisations to
share information and assist in
identifying potential terrorist re-
cruiters and those going abroad
to participate in conflicts.
National Security Minister Ed-
mund Dillon sent the message yes-
terday as he convened a round-table
representing "most of the Islamic
organisations in T&T," the minis-
"This latest collaboration will as-
sist Government to chart a way for-
ward, to treat with issues pertaining
to terrorism and terrorist activities
in a co-operative and collaborative
manner," Dillon said.
He said the initiative also involves
the US government.
Present at yesterday's meeting was
US Embassy deputy chief of Mission
Muslim organisations represented
at the meeting included the National
Islamic Counselling Services; Islamic
Resource Society; National Muslim
Women's Organisation of T&T; the
Anjuman Sunnat-Ul-Jamaat (ASJA)
and the Trinidad Muslim League.
The ministry said other faith-
based organisations will be included
in future round-table discussions.
The Jamaat Al Muslimeen and
several other Muslim groups were
not invited - a situation which Ja-
maat leader Yasin Abu Bakr and
others protested yesterday. Bakr
and some of those groups last Sun-
day announced they would challenge
Government's recently proposed an-
Contacted on the issue, Bakr said,
"Since I wasn't invited (round-table)
I'm not obliged to follow anything
they discussed. I have more members
than the groups who met the min-
istry - I represent thousands here,
yet this disrespect always happens."
The convening of yesterday's
Muslim Round-table follows "sev-
eral months" of talks the ministry
has had with the community, the
Last August, after the T&T Guard-
ian confirmed 120 nationals had gone
overseas to join the ISIS terror net-
work, Dillon promised to meet with
members of the Muslim community
to ascertain why people were doing
so. Last week, Dillon confirmed the
number of those involved in terrorist
activities overseas was 130.
At yesterday's meeting, the minis-
try said Dillon stressed the need for
heightened awareness among mem-
bers of the Muslim community - as
with all communities - and urged
people to share information if they
suspect nefarious activities in their
Dillon "challenged leaders to as-
sist in the identification of potential
terrorist recruiters" and those who
choose to enter into areas affected by
conflict. He underscored the "impor-
tance of the positive voices in treating
with crime and criminality."
He also urged the leaders to en-
courage their organisations to speak
with "a united positive voice whilst
taking action to root out and displace
the criminal elements." He reiterated
that people leaving Trinidad to enter
areas of conflict are a minority and
underscored that the vast majority
of the local Muslim population are
Dillon commended the leaders for
their willingness to collaborate with
Government in countering the threat
The ministry said Hafeez Khan
(National Islamic Counselling Ser-
vices), who led the delegation, ex-
pressed concerns about the negative
image being conveyed in the local and
international domains about T&T
and the Muslim community.
In addressing this, Khan said the
community is "committed as a col-
lective body to self-regulation, as
well as working with the Government
in support of countering the threat
of terrorism including the exchange
of critical information."
The US delegation agreed to pro-
vide research data to the ministry,
including identifying possible causes
that attract locals to conflict zones
Subsequent meetings will focus on
building the relationship between the
Government and Muslim communi-
ties, the ministry stated.
Dillon talks to foreign
media on terrorism issue
After T&T recently became the
point of increased international me-
dia scrutiny on nationals who had
joined terrorist activities overseas, a
New York Times reporter has been
in T&T tracking who's gone to ISIS
Dillon met with the reporter ear-
lier in the week. Following his meet-
ing with Muslim groups yesterday,
he also met with a representative
of the Atlantic magazine, which fea-
tured articles on the matter.
...Abu, splinter groups not invited
DPP happy vacancies being filled
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
Roger Gaspard says he, like most other
citizens in this country, "is deeply con-
cerned about the crime situation" and
with the spiralling murder and crime
rate, it was critical that vacancies in
the office of the DPP be filled.
Gaspard made the comment yesterday,
as he welcomed public statements from the
Attorney General and others that his office
will get additional staff soon.
Saying this was long overdue, Gaspard
said he had made requests to Chief Justice
Ivor Archie for vacancies in his office to be
filled and had discussions on it with AG
Faris Al-Rawi and Minister in the Office
of the Prime Minister Stuart Young.
A post on the page of the Office of the
Prime Minister yesterday said Government
had urged "the Judicial Legal Services to
address the abysmal under-staffing at the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office
and the Chief Justice has confirmed that 33
new lawyers have been recruited and will
begin work shortly to dramatically reduce
the backlog of cases in the system."
Gaspard said there had been no discus-
sion with him on how soon the new attor-
neys will join the office.
"What I know is what I read in the news-
paper," he said, adding he was happy that
a start had been made to add staff to his
He said there are "100-odd positions to
the complement of staff approved by the
Cabinet of the former People's Partnership
government in 2014, but at the moment
we're operating at less than 50 per cent
of the staff required in extremely critical
The Office of the DPP, he said, had been
short-staffed for years.
"It was like that before I assumed office
and over the years the problem has wors-
ened," he said, adding all he could do was
"make representation, the selection pro-
cess and the filling of positions are out of
my hands. That is the exclusive preserve
of the JLSC."
Gaspard said, however, that the country's
current crime situation makes it imperative
that vacancies be filled.
"If there is a galloping crime and murder
rate, it stands to reason that the DPP's of-
fice, which prosecutes in all the murders, if
there is an increase in the murder rate then
it is as simple as ABC that there is need for
more attorneys in the Office of the DPP."
Apart from the common crimes, he said,
"there are certain new types of criminal
investigations and prosecutions that we are
expected to lead, such as money laundering
and terrorist financing, but we need the
staff to do it."
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon poses with members of the Muslim community following yesterday's meeting.
Dillon convenes Muslim round-table on terrorism
... Some Muslims
While Muslim attorney Nafeesa
Mohammed wasn't invited to yes-
terday's meeting, she was pleased
the community was beginning to
"coalesce to sort out issues affect-
ing the community. I've consistently
pleaded for the community to get
its act together and have meaning-
But Islamic Missionaries Guild
head Imtiaz Mohammed, who
wasn't invited, said, "The US Em-
bassy is using this forum to get
intelligence on the Muslim commu-
"The Muslim groups attending
don't have a proper feel for the
community, how can they give in-
formation to assist Government?"
Independent masjids - from
Valsayn, Enterprise, other Central
areas and Rio Claro - were not in-
Islamic Front leader Umar Ab-
dullah added, "I'd give Government
the benefit of the doubt, they will
eventually speak to everybody, but
if someone who's always called for
discussions isn't invited, how will
they get proper information?
"The groups which were invited
don't know what's going on and if
the (ministry) didn't have Imam
Bakr, myself and other heads from
the mosques in Central, Rio Claro
and elsewhere, they won't be prop-
erly informed. I have no problem
speaking to the US and putting
them on the proper path."
Links Archive February 10th 2017 February 12th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page