National Security Minister Edmund Dillon says Government is investigating reports of locals held at a detention camp in Iraq. Speaking on Friday in the House of Representatives, Dillon said this is being done, “through diplomatic channels and other agencies.”
Naparima MP Rodney Charles insisted the people in the reports were TT nationals and claimed the Iraqi government wanted to repatriate them.
Dillon reiterated there has been no confirmation that these people are TT citizens and the reports are being investigated.
Later in the sitting, Dillon said 409,123 nationals from other countries arrived in TT between January 1 and November 30. He said of this number, 14,178 overstayed their time and had not left as of the end of November.
Dillon said information from the Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) said four people were smuggled into TT from Venezuela in the period January 1 to December 30, 2017. “These victims included two adults and two minors.”
Recalling the CTU was established in 2013, Dillon said there were no reports of anyone being smuggled between 2014 and 2016. He also said information from the CTU indicated that three Colombian women were reportedly smuggled into TT last year.
The minister said the National Coastal Surveillance Centre helps the Coast Guard to monitor TT’s waters and identify vessels of interest for interception.
He said the Immigration Division continues to effectively monitor and control the movements of people in and out of the country. Dillon also identified a memorandum of intent signed last April between TT and the United States for the establishment of a personal identification secure comparison and evaluation system (PISCES) among other initiatives being pursued by Government to deal with illegal migrants in TT.
In response to a question, Dillon said there is no legislative framework governing the use of non-lethal weapons by citizens. He said amendments would have to be made to the Prevention of Crimes (Offensive Weapons) Act and the Firearms Act to allow this.