THE Police Service’s intelligence arm will be revamped.
One of the changes will see the establishment of a special unit to deal with foreign criminality in TT. Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made this disclosure yesterday, confirming an earlier statement by National Security Minister Stuart Young. Griffith said the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit will be restructured into various sub-units, comprising police officers dealing with specific types of intelligence.
The foreign criminal sub-unit will handle crimes involving all foreign nationals. Griffith identified human trafficking and gambling as examples of crimes this sub-unit will look at. Full details will be provided at a news conference on Wednesday. In its current form, Griffith said the service’s intelligence arm has been saddled with numerous challenges in providing proper intelligence. While he was giving the OCIU a chance to get its act together, Griffith said, “The Buju (Banton) blunder was the last straw.”
Once information is properly assessed within the new police intelligence structure, Griffith said it will be sent to the TTPS’ operational arm for action. He said this part of the service include the Special Operations Response Team, Guard and Emergency Branch and the Multi-Operation Police Section. He explained the new intelligence sub-units will report to the three deputy police commissioners under him. But Griffith added that because the buck stops with him in the TTPS, they will ultimately be accountable to him. He was confident this new arrangement will facilitate greater operational efficiency between the TTPS’ intelligence and operational arms.
Young told Newsday this sub-unit “will not be solely focused on Venezuelans”. Referring to a Sunday Guardian report alleging increased criminal activity in Venezuela’s Delta Amacuro region, Young said, “Whilst I appreciate concerns about any criminal activity that affects TT, as I am constantly concerned about same, I am observing a concerted attempt to build a narrative focused on Venezuelan activity.” Young said he was frankly intrigued to see that one of the main source documents used to support the Guardian’s article was “ a paper” written by a student for his masters degree.
“A student’s thesis is simply an individual’s subjective and potentially isolated opinion.”
Young said, “As stated previously, all arms of national security will continue working together to do all that they can to make TT safer and more secure, including dealing with all sources of criminality.”
The Energy Ministry also rejected another Guardian article which claimed that Venezuela was using TT to hide its oil exports to avoid US sanctions. The ministry said Energy Minister Franklin Khan was sent information from the Works and Transport Ministry’s Maritime Services Division which refuted those claims. The division said only the vessel Mindoro berthed at Chaguaramas on March 23.
The Mindoro was in TT for provisions stores and/or spares. The vessel left on the same day. There is no evidence the other two vessels mentioned in the article, berthed in TT.