Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt July 5 - 2017
JSC told illegal gun trade makes $100m annually
The illegal gun trade in T&T creates rev-
enue in excess of $100 million annually,
members of the Strategic Services Agency
told a Joint Select Committee on national
The presentation was done in private before
the JSC by senior officials of the protective
services and the Defence Force at the ANR
Robinson Room, Tower D, International
Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain. The meet-
ing was chaired by Minister in the Ministry
of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs
Fitzgerald Hinds and focussed on illegal fire-
arms in the country.
The media was also not allowed to witness
presentation but Hinds later confirmed it
during the public session of the meeting.
JSC member and Opposition Senator
Wayne Sturge also spoke about the infor-
mation which was presented to them. He
did so in the form of a question to the Comp-
troller of Customs and Excise Glen Singh.
Based on the presentation, which showed
the illegal gun trade was in excess of $100
million annually and that a substantial per-
centage of the arms entering T&T were
coming through legal ports, Sturge asked
what percentage of containers entering the
country were scanned.
Singh said 60 per cent of them were and
the 40 per cent that were not were from
In response to a question from Sturge
about who determines which containers at
not searched, Singh said there was a risk
management committee "for which separate,
clearly defined criteria are put into the sys-
tem for doing such." He said that criteria
was based "upon your pattern, your history
with us and your previous compliance rating."
Sturge then said: "Given the fact that the
gun trade is $100 million annually, it is obvi-
ous that the persons who are running the
gun trade are not small people, so is it not
common sense, since we see that a signifi-
cant amount of seizures come through Cus-
toms and so on, is it not common sense that
the 40 per cent are the persons, the rich
people, who you should be having your eyes
Singh responded: "That is a highly sub-
jective statement. We don't have a criteria
for rich people."
Singh said the relationship the Customs
has "with a lot of the manufacturing and
industrial concerns in T&T, it might mean
that the percentage I am speaking about
would be from established importers and
captains of industry and those highly com-
pliant industries and importers in T&T. "
"Are you saying that it is beyond the malin-
tent of captains of industry to be importing
illegal firearms?" Sturge asked.
"That is not what I said , Senator," Singh
Senior Superintendent Armoury, Leroy Brebnor,left, Senior Superintendent (Ag.) Simbonath
Rajkumar and Senior Superintendent (Ag.) Highway and Traffic, Basdeo Ramdhanie speak
during JSC on National Security, yesterday. PHOTO: TRINIDAD GUARDIAN
Tobago Tourism Agency to revive tourism: Secretary
The new Tobago Tourism Authority will
begin "formulating strategies" for the revit-
alisation of Tobago's tourism industry as
soon as the board's members are appoint-
ed says Secretary of Tourism, Culture and
Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips.
The Agency's responsibilities include pol-
icy implementation in the tourism sector, as
well as "designing and implementing suitable
marketing strategies, product development,
and research." She said the agency will be
responsible for "a positive turnaround in ...
Tobago's tourism sector."
The Tourism Secretary made this
announcement at last week's post -Executive
Council media briefing at the Administrative
Complex, Calder Hall.
The board of directors, under the chair-
manship of Dr Sherma Roberts -Graduate
Coordinator, M.Sc. Tourism Programmes-
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill- are
expected to be appointed before the end of
She said the Executive Council's decision
to hire Tobago-born Dr Roberts as chairman,
augurs well for the industry. "She's a young
Tobagonian, passionate about Tobago and
its tourism development," the Secretary said.
Noting that Tobagonians have been asking
for an entity like the agency, to improve the
island's tourism industry, she said it will be
in responsible for the direction in which the
She noted that after the agency is formed
its members will meet with different stake-
holders in the industry "to ensure that every-
one is a part of the discussion."
Stressing the importance of Tobago's
culture to the tourism product, the Secre-
tary said, "it's a unique selling point."
"Our culture and visitors look forward to
this experience whenever they come to our
island," she said.
Prior to now, Destination Tobago was
marketed by the Tourism Development Com-
pany (TDC) Limited of Trinidad and Toba-
go.On March 9, Tourism Minister Shamfa
Cudjoe, following a Cabinet meeting at the
Magdalena Grand Resort- Tobago, announced
the government's decision to close the TDC
and create two entities with the responsi-
bility to market the islands separately.
However, since the announcement, the
unions representing the company's workers
have taken the government to court and
filled an injunction to prevent the compa-
ny from being wound up.
In response to another question, Snr Supt
Leroy Brebnor said the police had concerns
about the 40 per cent of the containers that
get the green light and are not scanned.
"That confirms and compounds the sit-
uation that we are in at this present state.
If 40 per cent of your containers can go
unsearched, then you could image what
really goes on. The numbers that we are
finding on a daily basis and the numbers
that the SSA has put up could triple," Breb-
Secretary for Infrastructure,
Quarries and the Environment
Kwesi Des Vignes and Secretary
for Tourism, Culture and
Transportation Nadine Des
Vignes address the media during
the post Executive Council Media
briefing June 28, 2017.
THA INFORMATION DIVISION.
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