PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, February 13, 2019 (CMC) – National Security Minister, Stuart Young, announced plans, today, for a major security operation, here, and warned nationals to be prepared for some level of inconvenience, as the law enforcement authorities move to tackle various crimes, including murder in Trinidad and Tobago.
Last year, 516 people were killed, and so far this year, at least 70 persons have been murdered.
Young, who confirmed that a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force had been shot by a stray bullet, while on patrol in the Betham gardens, on the outskirts of the capital, where several people have been killed in recent days, said “Operation Push Back” would be undertaken, within the confines of the law.
“I am not going to divulge the particulars at this time. Those are operational matters. I am sure, at the appropriate time, the Commissioner of Police (Gary Griffith) and others will address it,” he told a news conference.
Young said the planned operation should not be confused with a state of emergency (SOE), which he said “is a completely different concept in law”.
“What it does it, suspends your constitutional rights in an area of the country, depending on where you want to declare a state of emergency. That is not happening on this occasion. What we are doing is working within the confines of the law, and you are going to see a serious push, by the men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, with the support of other agencies, as they push back and change the whole landscape on these criminal elements,” he said.
Young told reporters it was no longer acceptable for the law enforcement agencies to be reacting to what’s taking place in the country, adding “it is time that we dictate the pace and we go on the offensive, and we (will) do all that we can, with all of the state’s resources, to ensure that the criminal element is beaten into submission”.
“So what I am coming, here, to tell you’ll, is that very shortly there will be increased intelligence-driven operations, aimed at achieving what I have just described. Additionally, the Anti-Gang legislation specifically provides for these types of situations,” he added.
Young said that the authorities would also be stepping up activities against white-collar crime and that the police would soon be getting the support requested, as a result.
“In my conversation with the Commissioner of Police, and I won’t get into the details, he is going to be tackling white-collar crime, the same way, you see him leading the men and women, pushing back at the other criminal elements,” Young added.