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Thursday 20 September 2018
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Dillon: Beetham unrest not like 1990

Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon. PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED.

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said there was no comparison between the failure of intelligence in the recent Beetham protest and the 1990 attempted coup.

He made the comments while responding to questions from Naparima MP Rodney Charles in Parliament on Friday.

Charles asked for the reasons for the failure of intelligence services to anticipate and plan for events on Beetham Highway in the wake of arrests two residents in area. Dillon responded that the Government condemned the actions of any lawless activities on the part of citizens.

On the Beetham, which saw protest and major traffic disruptions on Thursday, he said Government proposed zero tolerance on any behaviour that would affect peace-loving citizens and empathised with those who went through that traumatic experience.

On the incident, he said the police had an operation in Beetham and the Commissioner of Police had already identified a gap in the operation in the response and its timeliness.

He said police intervened to arrest two individuals and were on the ground at time of the incident and had to call for reinforcements. He said they dealt with the matter as quickly as possible to bring relief to citizens.

Charles then asked Dillon if the public could be assured that what occurred in 1990 – the attempted coup by the Jamaat al Muslimeen – which was caused by faulty intelligence would not reoccur.

Dillon said there was no comparison with 1990 and what happened at the Beetham. He said he could assure the public that, even based on lessons learned from 1990, the agencies of the State had put together an intelligence agency that could treat with any matter pertinent to 1990.

On Beetham, he said they had learned lessons and were prepared to treat with any matters in future.

Charles then asked why these lessons were not seen in effect on Thursday.

Dillon responded that there were different levels of intelligence and law enforcement would treat with any eventualities and ensure there was not a recurrence.

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