Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Army probe into soldiers posing with dead caimans


outrage online: This photograph showing four soldiers attached to the La Romaine army base is currently under investigation by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. The photograph was posted yesterday on the Facebook page of environmental advocacy group Papa Bois Conservation.

Mark Fraser

THE Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) has launched an investigation into a photograph which has gone viral on social networking sites, depicting four soldiers holding what appears to be two dead caimans, the Express has learned.

The photograph shows three of the four soldiers dressed in camouflage and one with his semi-automatic military service rifle hanging from a strap across his chest.

The fourth soldier who was not dressed in camouflage is seen po­sing with his middle finger raised.

The photograph yesterday appeared on the Facebook page of environmental advocacy group Papa Bois Conservation.

Up to press time, the photograph had been shared by over 400 people.

The caption of the photograph stated:

“I have often thought that our military and police should all have a class on the importance of protecting our flora and fau­na. Many of us have heard stories of T&T soldiers hunting pro­tected animals in protected areas. Are they using weapons and ammunition payed (sic) for by the state on illegal hunting trips?”

“Our military are armed and often training in our forest. They need to become environmentally conscious or our wildlife will be hurt. I would like to send this image to the T&T Regiment. The pic shows our soldiers in uniform with state guns with dead caiman. Were they hunted during the hunting ban??? Is the law for all of us?” the caption sta­ted.

There is currently a two-year ban on hunting in this country.

The ban officially be­gan on October 1 last year.

A source at the TTDF yesterday confirmed the four men featured in the photograph are all local soldiers.

The four are stationed at the La Romaine army base in South Trinidad.

The Godineau River borders the land surrounding the base.

The source stated an investigation has been launched to determine the exact date the pho-

­to­graph was taken and oth­er

details surrounding the image.

The soldiers face possible disciplinary action.

Attempts to contact the civil military affairs officer of the Defence Force, Major Al Alexander, proved futile yesterday.