In response to the seizure of guns and ammunition in Piarco and Couva, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) is calling on the government to implement additional measures to tackle the illegal gun and drug trades.
In a media release on Tuesday, TTMA president Tricia Coosal commended the police and the Customs and Excise Division for seizing the weapons and said the presence of such a large number of guns and ammunition emphasised the need for more robust measures to prevent the influx.
She said the Ministry of Trade and Industry's creation of the Anti-Illicit Trade Task Force would strengthen capacities in disrupting illegal trades in drugs, guns and counterfeiting, but also urged the authorities to consider additional training for customs officers and the police as well as increasing collaboration with local and regional agencies.
"Local agencies such as Board of Inland Revenue; Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division; Customs and Excise Division; Immigration Division; Intellectual Property Office; Inland Revenue Division; and the Tobacco Control Unit must work together as it is likely that persons are involved in illicit trade of various items simultaneously.
"Regional agencies such as the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council and international agencies such as INTA and Interpol can also provide assistance."
She also suggested an increased focus and inspection at borders, especially at ports and free trade zones and legislative reform.
On reports that bond workers would be questioned over the recent arms seizure at Piarco, Coosal said prosecuting those guilty would act as a deterrent and encouraged the police to investigate thoroughly.