THE escape of TT’s first human traffic convict Anthony Michael Smith is a matter of grave national security, says Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.
Moonilal called for an urgent meeting of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security for a full explanation on how Smith absconded after he took off his electronic monitoring device.
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds broke the news of Smith's conviction and escape from justice during a briefing on Friday.
Smith was convicted on five charges under the Human Trafficking Act and had absconded after attended the first two days of his trial before Justice Geoffrey Henderson at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in his absence.
Hinds defended the police and the Electronic Monitoring Unit (EMU) of the Ministry of National Security, saying it was not a stain on their part.
Moonilal differed in opinion in a statement issued on Saturday. He said the unit has a critical responsibility to the country for this "horrifying lapse" and must account to the JSC.
“The escape of Anthony Michael Smith is a grave national security matter not only because he was the first convict for this dastardly crime but also since electronic bracelets are specially designed and carefully monitored.”
Moonilal recalled that critical electronic-monitoring legislation was passed by the People’s Partnership government. He said such bracelets should meet international standards and emit signals to a nearby computer at any attempts to escape custody.
“Heads must roll over this scandal of a human trafficker trafficking himself out of supervision, and possibly out of the jurisdiction.”
He said Smith’s escape and ability to dodge the law enforcers “is both scandalous and deeply disturbing.”
Moonilal said Hinds must account to the people of Trinidad and Tobago for this outrageous development and explain what actions the unit is taking to avoid a repeat. Moonilal said the escape of the convicted criminal raises urgent and serious questions about whether murderers and other hardcore felons could also flee custody and commit more offences.