The UNC is calling on acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob to produce statistics on arrests being made in the US in places where guns shipped to TT originated.
Speaking at a mid-week media conference at the Office of the Opposition Leader on Thursday, UNC political and strategy analyst attorney Sean Sobers criticised Jacob for attributing the rise in crime to illegal guns coming through legal points of entry.
“He indicated there was some collating of data and a task force to be formed to collate information with the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms unit in the US. He also spoke about arrests being made in these originating states within the US.
"Where’s the statistical information on that? How can we trust what you are saying? Because we would have heard this song and dance many times before.”
Naparima MP Rodney Charles called on Jacob to insist that the scanners at ports are functioning. He also criticised the police for the abysmal detection rate and the lack of trust in them.
Referring to the US State Department’s report on human trafficking which said TT had not done enough work to fight the issue, Sobers said under the UNC, the counter-trafficking unit had been fully resourced.
“It has now been partially dismantled, and has to rely on other parts of the service to have strike capabilities. That’s why the US can say there is inefficiency.
"We need to improve the detection rate. Some people know the criminal elements in their areas but don’t trust the police. The social services and programmes in place under the People's Partnership, which we knew would contribute to a reduction in the crime rate, have been gutted or stopped.”
Charles called on government to write to the US State Department to demand clarification ofthe names of the high-ranking officials who the report said were involved in human trafficking.
He called on the PM to fire National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and take his place. He said prison officers and lifeguards had expressed a loss of confidence in Hinds.
Charles said he would be writing to Denmark’s Minister of Taxation Morten Bodskov to find out why he had said TT existed in a nook of shame.
“As we speak, TT remains on an EU negative blacklist for being a tax haven linked to such crimes as money laundering. Why are we alone among Caricom states on an EU watchlist? Something is amiss, and that EU minister clearly knows something of which we are unaware.
"I therefore intend to write to him to find out what caused him to utter such pejorative remarks against my country.”
Charles said the UNC had supported every bit of legislation which would have enabled TT to be removed from the blacklist.
“Whether it was the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) – we made amendments. but we supported it. The Income Tax Amendment Bill in 2019: we supported that. The Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Bill in 2018: we supported that; and the Tax Information Exchange Agreement Bill, 2018, we supported, because the instructions we had from our leader were to support any bill that would get us off the blacklist, although we would try to make any improvements we could.”