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DA SILVA: ANN nee Nieves

Published: 
Sunday, February 11, 2018
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon. Photo by:COURTESY OFFICE OF THE PARLIAMENT

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Rhondor Dowlat

T&T's law enforcement agencies were the ones who received critical information two months ago about a terrorist threat being planned for Carnival and acted on it . According to intelligence sources, they are always on the alert for "terrorists and terrorist activities" and that a strategy was laid on the table by the Ministry of National Security, led by its line minister, Edmund Dillon.

“Well…as you see, it has reached this point now where we have detained four people of interest, two of which have been “red-flagged” and the other two have other connections that we are interested in investigating further,” the source said.

The source said since the last two months, a “special elite” unit within the National Security Ministry, which consists of members of the T&T Defence Force and the T&T Air Guard, monitored movements of individuals and staked out places of interests over a period of time, before moving in. “So that by itself tells a lot. We also have the assistance of the American soldiers.”

The source confirmed a CNN report which stated that US troops participated in Thursday’s anti-terror raids.

The CNN report revealed that they were told by American military officials that US military personnel from US Southern Command, which oversees US military operations in the region, advised and assisted local Trinidadian security forces in apprehending the “four extremists who are believed to be part of a network engaged in plotting terror attacks”. The report added that the US troops did not participate in any direct combat.

Dillon, in relation to recent developments, expressed satisfaction in the way the country’s law enforcement agencies, including the T&T Police Service, handled the situation thus far.

“This successful law enforcement operation was the result of continued implementation of an integrated, intelligence-led strategy,” Dillon said.

He gave the assurance that this country’s agencies are “constantly working to identify suspicious activities and authenticate the origin of and curtail any possible threats in a timely and accurate manner”.

Dillon urged members of the public to “continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious or irregular activities to the police and to have a safe and secure Carnival”.

It was a T&T operation—US Embassy on CNN claim

Meanwhile, the US Embassy also responded to queries about information carried on CNN about the alleged plot. CNN claimed "US troops participated in anti-terror raids in T&T in helping to capture four high-value target."

On TG's queries, the US Embassy stated: "This was an operation of the T&T Police Service. We refer you to the Department of Defense for any comment on the reported involvement of US military personnel in the operation.

"The US government applauds the T&T Police Service (TTPS) for its swift action to protect the safety and security of Carnival. We refer you to the Government of T&T for any questions about the operation."

— Gail Alexander

Security arrangements

Dillon outlined the security arrangements that already existed prior to the official launch of Carnival festivities and which will continue:

• All law enforcement personnel being deployed and working at all major events;

• All law enforcement agencies working in conjunction with each other on a 24-hour basis to monitor and evaluate real-time movement of people and traffic;

• Joint Police and Regiment mobile and foot patrols in and around all municipalities;

• Coastline and territorial waters being patrolled by the Coast Guard;

• and constant air patrols of our borders and critical infrastructure by the Air Guard.

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