Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 19th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, July 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
National security operations
including patrols by the army and
police in Laventille and environs
will continue and may even inten-
So said National Security Minister
Gary Griffith in a statement in the
House of Representatives, in the wake
of media reports in which residents
have claimed brutality by soldiers
operating on patrols without any
On Wednesday, acting Commis-
sioner of Police Stephen Williams
was critical of the soldiers actions
in patrolling on their own.
But Griffith did not agree, saying
the patrols were part of an overall
operation in the area.
"What is presently being conducted
in Laventille and environs is a
planned, approved operation that
involves patrols and other mecha-
nisms of law enforcement that
involves the T&T Police Service," he
explained. "It does not mean that
every police officer must be next to
a soldier and hold his hand in the
"So the Defence Force work in tan-
dem with the police in the operation
but they can be on patrol without a
police officer being next to them."
He said both Williams and Chief
of Defence Staff Major Gen Kenrick
Maharaj had said they would support
all legal and approved operations and
events involving the Defence Force
and Police Service.
"They caution members of both
units that any individual or group of
individuals found to be involved in
any unauthorised activity would be
treated with the full brunt of the laws
that govern both units," Griffith
He said Maharaj "reiterates that it
is not illegal for members of the
Defence Force to conduct patrols
without a member of the Police Serv-
ice being present as the area of oper-
ation for the regiment is the geo-
graphical confines of T&T."
Griffith also said Williams had
expressed his "full support" for the
Defence Force patrols in Laventille
"This type of support given to the
police by the Defence Force is an
ongoing effort and the combined
operations of the agencies will serve
to the betterment of the nation," he
said, adding that there had been "sig-
nificant success in numerous oper-
ations far and wide across the national
He said the news reports on the
patrols in the area were done "in an
effort to tarnish the image of the
Defence Force and cause the public
to question and doubt the reason of
their presence. They have commenced
a form of mind games or a level of
psychological warfare in that neither
the Chief of Defence Staff nor the
Commissioner of Police have received
any reports of wrongdoing by the
He said it was only a handful of
people who were calling the media
to publish those reports, and the
newspaper headlines were based on
allegation, perception, old talk and
Griffith told legislators the "detrac-
tors" who were critical of the oper-
ations and patrols In Laventille "are
those who may appear to be in some
aspect of illegal activity or those who
are associated with criminal elements."
He said the majority of comments
received were positive about the role
being performed by the Defence
Force. Because of the patrols, he said,
"For the first time in years children
are playing on courts late at nights
in these areas. Mothers are walking
the streets in peace with their chil-
dren, not fearing a stray bullet enter-
ing their homes."
He said that "a few people run to
the media in order to have pressure
put on the army."
But he insisted, "The soldiers will
remain there until the area is brought
under control. It might be intensified,
but with the support of the Police
It was unfortunate that soldiers
were taking a berating from the people
of this country, he commented, even
after what they did in the July 1990
Griffith said a soldier was killed
"because he put his hand on a Bible
to guard and defend our country, no
other reason. His colleagues have ral-
lied to the call to ensure that this is
unacceptable, just like anywhere else
in the world."
This was a reference to the murder
of Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas in
Laventille last month.
In New York, when a police officer
was killed, said Griffith, his colleagues
"don t go and hold hands and sing
with the criminals. They make their
presence felt and they stay within
the law. We intend to do the same
He said soldiers risked their lives
in defence of citizens "and now they
are getting a slap in the face and we
are telling them to use citizens arrest."
While soldiers have to return their
weapons at the end of a work day,
the criminals keep their guns at home,
he said. He called on citizens to sup-
port the soldiers as they continued
to defend the nation against crimi-
If any soldier or police officer broke
the law he would face the full brunt
of the law, he said. Asked about Grif-
fith s statement, acting CoP Williams
said, "No comment."
Gary: More patrols for Laventille
The Government Campus Plaza (GCP)
building to which the Immigration Divi-
sion will be relocated will be completely
outfitted by March 20, 2015.
Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal gave
the timeline in Parliament yesterday in
an update on the delivery of space for
some government offices.
Moonilal said Udecott was working
assiduously to ensure completion of the
campus so that much-needed office space
for public officers could be finally handed
over. He said the entire campus would
be occupied by public officers next year.
Moonilal said progress of the project
was delayed for many different reasons,
the most challenging of which was Ude-
cott s ability to source funding to complete
"This is a hurdle Udecott was able to
overcome recently, which resulted in
recommencement of works for the first
time since 2012," he said, listing delays
caused by the prioritisation of funds to
meet the Clico debt and paying $7 billion
in contractors bills left by the PNM Gov-
He said the building originally ear-
marked for the National Security Ministry
would instead be used to relocate the
"The urgent need to identify appro-
priate and acceptable office space for
Immigration Department staff has been
recently highlighted. Cabinet has decided
such accommodation could be provided
at GCP and the Immigration Department
would be relocated to this building."
He said NH International Caribbean
(NHIC) Ltd started construction of the
building on November 28, 2005, and
it was scheduled to be completed by
August 27, 2007. The contract price
was $185.8 million.
But, he said, "From July 2010 to March
2012, Udecott undertook a massive rec-
onciliation process with regard to dupli-
cation of claims and delays by contractors.
The new Udecott also had to do analysis
on the works done, via independent con-
sultants and quantity surveyors with
intense negotiations with contractors,
subsequent to the findings."
NHIC resumed work March 1, 2012,
under a supplemental agreement and
completed all base build works by March
21, 2014. The revised contract sum for
these works under the supplemental
agreement was $207.182 million.
"While the building was completed
three years after it was due, NHIC finalised
the works at a final figure of $205.4 mil-
lion, saving $1.7 million, VAT-exclusive."
Moonilal added, "Udecott has already
commenced regular, intense meetings
with the Chief Immigration Officer to
finalise a user brief as soon as possible,
so in a matter of days, it will be possible
to publicly invite proposals for fit-out of
"Udecott has given a timeline for com-
pletion of the Immigration building by
which it is proposed that the fit-out of
the building will be completed by March
Moonilal said the PNM Government
took possession of the building at 1
Alexandra Street, St Clair, without statu-
tory approval and the current Government
had been locked into an agreement over
the empty building since then. "A former
government minister changed government
policy by e-mail to ensure that building
was eight floors, and Town and Country
Planning approval was four days before
a general election. She did that, she did
that, I imagine it was done to satisfy the
P-R-O-F-I-T," he added.
Govt campus ready by 2015---Moonilal
back to work
is back out to work
after being injured
while playing foot-
ball last weekend.
Carmona s sec-
this when contacted
Saying the Pres-
ident was in a
meeting, the secre-
tary referred ques-
tions to the president s communications specialist
Theron Boodan, but Boodan was on a course and
was unavailable for comment.
Calls to President Carmona s cellular phone
Carmona was warded at the St Clair Medical
Centre for observation after he suffered head
injuries while playing football with neighbours
following the World Cup football final on Sun-
Carmona and some of his neighbours at Flagstaff
watched the finals of the Fifa World Cup match
between Argentina and Germany, then went to
play football afterwards. During the match, around
6 pm, the President slipped and fell, hitting the
right side of his head on the pavement.
He was given medicine for the pain and swelling,
but when the swelling increased, Carmona decided
to go to the St Clair Medical Centre, where he
was kept overnight.
He returned to work on Thursday and was
given the report of the commission of enquiry
into the events surrounding the collapse of the
Hindu Credit Union Co-operative Society. The
report was submitted by commissioner Sir Antho-
Board of Inland Revenue Tower
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PROGRESS OF GOVT CAMPUS PLAZA
President Anthony Carmona
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