MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds on Friday handed over about 50 new cars and jeeps to the police service and defence force at the Vehicle Maintenance Company (VMCOTT) at the Beetham Estate, Laventille.
Also present were Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher and Defence Force head Daryl Daniel, among other top brass. Hinds later told reporters this batch was a sampling of some 100 vehicles bought for $26 million.
In his speech, he said hard work would make a difference against crime, but this work required the tools of the trade, such as vehicles.
Hinds said the acquisition had entailed "tremendous collaboration in a very short time."
Saying the vehicles would be deployed in time for Carnival, he said his ministry had done everything possible to ensure a safe festival. Saying policing required visibility, swiftness, agility and responsiveness, he said the new vehicles would have a deterrent effect against crime.
Hinds spoke briefly about recent personnel training. He said a batch of traffic wardens had recently been trained to the level of special reserve police (SRP) officers to be adept at knowing the laws of Trinidad and Tobago to professionally support their police colleagues.
He related that on Thursday some 41 police officers had undergone training in the use of a breathalyser.
Noting a recruitment target of 1,000 new police officers in 2024, he effused that recently thousands of people had turned up to apply to be police officers to help push back criminality. Hinds said the defence force had similarly been recruiting soldiers.
"So it is not talk, condemnation and criticism that will resolve crime.
"It is work, preparation, agility and response."
Harewood-Christopher said the vehicles would go a long way to help the police service achieve its goals and maintain its crime-fighting initiatives.
However, she said vehicles alone could not solve crime as she thanked her hard-working officers.
"So I want to use this opportunity to thank them and to assure them that all their issues will be addressed, and they understand.
"I want to take this opportunity to assure the nation of the commitment of the officers of the Trinidad and Tobago police service.
"We understand what is required, and we are ready (and) capable."
Daniel said the defence force was working alongside the police service to ensure a safe Carnival for all.
There were eight Nissan jeeps painted dark green for use by the defence force. Also on display were about 40 Toyota vehicles for the police, both cars and jeeps, and both marked in police colours and unmarked vehicles.
Hinds later told reporters the vehicles were requested by the police and defence force to support their operations.
They had been sourced from stock already held by local suppliers, he said.
He said it had been a long time since he had heard any complaints about vehicle shortages, apart from this latest request.