T&T President’s Death Warning

February 1, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

HR photo

 

By

Ricardo Swire

On Sunday January 15, 2017 at 11:00am, Trinidad & Tobago Police Service’s (TTPS) Command Center received a death threat against the country’s President, Anthony Carmona.

The Caribbean Twin Island Republic’s internal security agencies activated relevant countermeasures to confront the challenge. According to TTPF reports the male caller said he was from the “army.” The man threatened the President’s life and “all ah dem.” The caller added he “was waiting by the Savannah to offload shots for the President.”

Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) possess one of the largest military forces in the English speaking Caribbean. After a 1970 mutiny TTDF was reorganized as four battalions, comprised two Infantry, one Engineering and one Support & Service unit. 2016’s records suggested T&T Defence Force’s (TTDF) manpower is dominated by the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment’s (TTR) two thousand, six hundred and eighty members, the T&T Coast Guard’s (TTCG) one thousand, five hundred and fifty-seven and T&T Air Guard’s (TTAG) four hundred and twenty staff modest by comparison.

In 2013 TTR members were officially assigned powers of arrest, by the Defence & Police Complaints (Amendment) Bill, to assist with national law enforcement. Subsequently a Major, TTDF’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the day, confirmed multiple investigations related to TTDF soldiers’ misbehavior. On September 4, 2013 one victim was blindfolded and beaten by five soldiers, while watching cricket at a recreation ground near his home in Cap-de-Ville, Point Fortin.

The recent TTPF Command Center’s unidentified death threat caller additionally threatened to “bomb” police stations. Under T&T’s Anti-Terrorism Act (Section 21) it is an offence to knowingly communicate false information of an explosive, toxic device or weapon of mass destruction. T&T is a quarter century removed from a violent failed coup by local Islamist group Jamaat al Muslimeen (JAM). OnJuly 27, 1990 the group attempted to overthrow T&T’s government. In 2014 eleven JAM affiliates assassinated a high profile independent female senator.

At the time a corresponding TTPF Special Branch intelligence report stated more JAM violence was expected, a conclusion based on surveillance of the group’s firearm movements, in preparation for attacks on targeted police stations. On July 14, 2015 an attempted jail break, to free one of the senator’s killers, was orchestrated by JAM members. Following an exchange of gunfire one TTPF officer and one JAM member were dead.

Since the T&T President began his term of office, from 2013 to 2018, his House operations have been under close official examination regarding suspicious expenditure. 2016 intelligence reports highlighted T&T’s rampant, violent crime. Sophisticated gangs contended for control of inner city areas. Their successful and lucrative drugs trade participation enabled the criminal element to finance purchases of large quantities of firearms. Many of these gangs are affiliated with Islamic extremist groups that secured control over areas of Port of Spain, T&T’s capital. Their zones of influence expanded, with private armies averaging the size of an infantry battalion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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