T&T’s former porous borders have “hardened” in the last two weeks with approximately 70 people apprehended, seeking illegal entry, says National Security Minister Stuart Young.
Plus, animals which were smuggled into T&T from Venezuela have been destroyed.
Young confirmed this in Parliament yesterday replying to Opposition queries.
His news comes in the wake of an incident where a group of foreigners were seen sneaking into T&T via boat at Erin a few weeks ago. Young said in the last couple weeks a Coast Guard fast patrol boat has been centred in the South West preventing illegals reaching shore and other boats are based on the North Coast.
Both Coast Guard and police service boats are patrolling areas where intelligence information reveal illegals are landing.
He said 50 to 70 people have been held and a number of them were prevented from landing: “The borders have hardened in the last two weeks.”
He also noted that Coast Guard on November 14 intercepted 15 vessels attempting to transport Venezuelan nationals into Trinidad as they made their way to Matelot: “This intelligence led operation lead to the arrest of six Venezuelans who were handed over to police and Immigration.”
Young confirmed there are 214 illegal ports between Trinidad and Tobago.
He added that the Defence Force collaborates with key national stakeholders on routine and incident-specific intelligence-driven operations for border protection.
“Operations are conducted through use of contemporary risk-based techniques in conjunction with up to date surveillance equipment including image detection systems from static and mobile platforms,” he explained.
“Joint border security teams conduct frequent three-dimensional patrols to detect, deter and prevent incursions and to provide early warning and indicators of potential threats to borders. Strategies have led to quicker, more appropriate responses to the evolving threats.
Young said there’s no evidence of animals brought into T&T illegally from Venezuela being used to smuggle guns, drugs and ammunition in.
However, he confirmed such “illegal” animals have been destroyed by the Agriculture Ministry since they can’t be quarantined and the ministry cannot risk them spreading diseases.
Young said over the past five plus years, there’s been an increased level of gun violence in the committal of robberies and home invasions due to factors including,the previously porous borders.
He noted some guns are coming from South and North American markets.
They’re being traced via the Police Academy Armourer and international partners.