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Griffith in UK to check equipment, strategies

By Mark Bassant CCN Senior Multimedia Investigative Journalist

THE HUNT to strengthen the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard with new vessels and equipment, as well as battling the drug-trafficking trade and crime, has taken Minister of National Security Gary Griffith to the United Kingdom on a four-day visit.

Griffith, who left Trinidad on Saturday evening with a contingent, told the Express and TV6 News they are hoping to not only outfit the Coast Guard with better equipment but to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies with the wherewithal to fight criminals.

The minister will be attending the Security and Policing Exhibition in Hampshire.

Apart from official meetings set up with the head of the Border and Policing Command of the United Kingdom National Crime Agency and the Director General International of the Immigration Policy Group, Griffith will be eyeing strategic meetings with UK-based companies to combat crime in T&T.

The minister, responding to questions via text message and later issuing a detailed release, indicated: “Through the UK we are looking to acquire armoured vehicles for the police and army.”

The release explained that armoured vehicles would also be provided for the National Operations Centre and  the possible supply of armoured personnel carriers for the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment.

With the Government intent on purchasing long range vessels, from either China or South Korea, Griffith said while in the UK they would also target the “supply of a state-of-the-art interceptor which will assist the  Coast Guard in locking down the maritime borders and combatting drug and human trafficking, as well as the illegal shipment of arms and ammunition.”

Another area Griffith said would be looked at during his meetings was an audit of the K-9 operations in Trinidad and Tobago, which would encompass not only the operations at the airports and ports, but would also review possible use of canines in the nation’s prisons.

Also on the agenda for discussion with the British-based companies, Griffith indicated, was providing training and operational preparation with respect to improving the energy sector security management and providing initial training needs assessment, followed by co-ordinating training and monitoring tasks in support of T&T’s security forces.

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