70 apprehended while seeking illegal entry in the last two weeks

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. 

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