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Trinidad And Tobago PM Announces New Crime Fighting Initiatives

The Dr. Keith Rowley-led Trinidad and Tobago government's "Cybercrime Bill, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Data Protection Act, and the Broadcast Code could have a chilling effect on press freedom and free expression online, if adopted”, says Reporters Without Borders in a new report.

Trinidad And Tobago PM Announces New Crime Fighting Initiatives

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, September 14, 2016 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, says his administration will be spending US$17.5 million on equipment that will enable the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to boost intelligence-gathering efforts in the fight against crime.

Rowley, in a 37-minute address to the nation, last Sunday, said the twin-island republic has been grappling with an increase in crime, even as the government also deals with some economic challenges.

“We wake up each day to the numbing news of the depressing actions of a proportionately small number of our citizens: non-stop killings, from the revenge murders among the organised criminal gangs; to the ever-too-frequent tragedies of domestic violence; to the inexplicable mindless acts of wantonness which defy logic, causing us to believe that amongst us, there are warped minds which place no value on human life,” he stressed.

He said his government is resolute in its commitment to confront those who choose crime as a way of life, and undertake to work, tirelessly, to rebuild a sense of safety, through meaningful reduction of crime and removal of the fear of crime in the nation’s communities.

The Prime Minister said the government will sustain its resourcing of the TTPS and other security agencies to allow them to better engage in crime prevention and detection.

“To this end, recently the National Security Council had Cabinet authorise a US$17.5 major equipment purchase to upgrade the intelligence-gathering efforts of the Police… this is expected to significantly boost evidence gathering and greatly assist the law enforcement capabilities of the security agencies,” he revealed.

The Prime Minister also said the government is eagerly awaiting the appointment of a Police Commissioner, and live in hope to bear fruit, from the new spirit of collaboration and cooperation between the government and the opposition.

“Only time will tell….steps have been taken to initiate the still cumbersome process, with the intention of having a substantive Commissioner of Police appointed. It is the intention of the government to invite the opposition to cooperate with us, to abolish the current failed process and replace it with some new arrangement, such as an accountable Police Service Commission, cloaked with the responsibility and authority, to supervise an effective modern Police Service.”

Rowley also noted that the government has been encouraging the TTPS to decentralise its efforts by concentrating its manpower and leadership over an aggressive regional substructure. He suggested that this would bring greater accountability alongside more actionable information and boots on the pavement over more hours of the day.

The address comes ahead of the Budget for fiscal 2016-2017, which is expected to be presented in Parliament by month’s end.

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