14 Coast Guard interceptors back up and running soon

The T&T Coast Guard’s will re­gain use of more in­ter­cep­tor ves­sels for in­creased bor­der se­cu­ri­ty and the po­lice are get­ting premis­es to call “home.”

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young an­nounced these de­vel­op­ments at yes­ter­day’s post-Cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing.

Com­ment­ing on the re­cent dis­cov­ery of il­le­gal im­mi­grants en­ter­ing T&T through Los Iros and pos­si­bly oth­er il­la­gal ports of en­try, Young said he’d since asked au­thor­i­ties for struc­tures and plans to in­crease bor­der se­cu­ri­ty.

Con­se­quent­ly, bor­der se­cu­ri­ty ini­tia­tives will in­volve get­ting 14 Coast Guard in­ter­cep­tor ves­sels back up and run­ning in the short­est time. 

He said when Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley re­cent­ly vis­it­ed Coast Guard head­quar­ters, it was learnt that many of the Coast Guard’s 25 in­ter­cep­tors weren’t work­ing. 

The cost of get­ting the 14 boats back in­to ser­vice is $6 mil­lion. They will bring to 19 the to­tal num­ber of work­ing in­ter­cep­tors. He said they’ll be strate­gi­cal­ly placed along T&T’s coast on the ba­sis of in­tel­li­gence re­ports, among plans to de­fend the porous bor­ders.

Young ad­mit­ted there are some de­fi­cien­cies in bor­der se­cu­ri­ty, hence need for the in­ter­cep­tors. 

“But there are al­so oth­er things we’re do­ing. What will hap­pen is in­tel­li­gence dri­ven,” Young said.

All agen­cies are al­so in­creas­ing pa­trols and process­es. Im­mi­gra­tion is al­so do­ing so, po­lice raids are on and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Venezue­lan coun­ter­parts are al­so on­go­ing, Young said.

Young al­so said Cab­i­net yes­ter­day agreed to give the Po­lice So­cial and Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion (TTP­SWA) state land with build­ings on it. 

“For many years pri­or, the as­so­ci­a­tion had been look­ing for a home. We ap­pre­ci­ate the job po­lice­men and women do in the ser­vice and the stress­es and rigours they go through dai­ly,” he said.

“TTP­SWA will use the build­ings there and con­struct an area for mem­bers to come to ex­er­cise, meet and as­so­ciate with each oth­er— ba­si­cal­ly a safe zone for po­lice to have well­ness in their lives. They can build their own head­quar­ters, well­ness fa­cil­i­ty and as­sets that will help the ser­vice.”

Young al­so said there was no in­for­ma­tion con­nect­ing any of the re­cent homi­cides. Fol­low­ing some mur­ders, in­clud­ing three dou­ble mur­ders with­in days of each oth­er, he said an emer­gency meet­ing was held last Sat­ur­day and the Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Coun­cil met on Wednes­day with all 28 po­lice di­vi­sion­al com­man­ders. 

Young added a re­cent “Busi­ness In­sid­er” ar­ti­cle rank­ing T&T as the 12th most dan­ger­ous place glob­al­ly had no com­par­a­tive analy­sis with oth­er states and was sim­ply so­cial me­dia “click bait.” 

“…That (re­port) looks le­git­i­mate but is re­al­ly mis­chief,” Young said.

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