NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday attended the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment's 50th birthday celebrations bearing gifts.
"I must tell you that I will give you the resources and the tools to make you do your work better," Warner said yesterday as he delivered the feature address at the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment's Golden Anniversary Parade at Teteron Barracks in Chaguaramas.
"Top priority" in Warner's bag of gifts is a plan to "amend the very obnoxious Defence Force Act which is in dire need of reform".
Warner said he contacted Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on the issue and the matter will be addressed when Ramlogan returns from overseas.
Also in Warner's gift bag is the plan to "fix the compensation package" offered to the Regiment personnel.
"A package which was last fixed in 2007. You have not taken the government to court. You have not protested, you have been to work diligently. Well this country must not take that for granted and we therefore have to give you the means of comfort so you can do your work better," Warner said.
"We shall investigate to see how far it is possible to even consider for you and the other arms of the protective services a military hospital for you and your families because the time has come when we have to lift this to the higher level," he said.
Warner promised that the Coast Guard would also be provided with the equipment they need.
He said there will be an increase in the size of the Defence Force Reserves and that they will also be provided a with a "separate budget which they do not have now".
"The strength of the Army shall also be increased because I am advised that the Army is almost 1,000 men short," Warner said.
Warner said the gifts will be delivered before the Regiment celebrates its next birthday.
"I tell you today that those are the things I will deliver for you in less than 50 weeks," Warner said.
"I did not come here today with any prepared speech by anybody to talk to you nicely because I want to talk to you from my heart, from my heart because every promise I make to you today is a promise I shall keep," he said.
Warner said his expectation in this instance is that the Regiment will aid in the fight against crime.
Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj is the first Chief of Defence Staff to agree to allow his officers to be precepted, Warner said.
"And shall precept 1,000 of them to go after the criminals, to flush them out. Brigadier Maharaj, thank you," Warner said.
Warner said he has written a letter to top cop Dwayne Gibbs warning him to reopen all closed police stations.
"I say to you today who don't hear will feel," Warner said.
Warner said the precepted Defence Force officers will be utilised to "open up those stations which are deficient in strength".
He called on the Defence Force to teach their counterparts in the Police Service how to take care of their police stations and police vehicles.
Warner said he also intends to provide the police with the things that they need including proper salaries.
"I have told them to take their case from the Industrial Court I said, 'You do not have to fight the government. We are on the same side and while I cannot give 30 per cent. What will you accept?'' They told me, we shook hands and that is that," Warner said.
Warner warned the Regiment not to embarrass him.
"Do not make me shame, when I hear my soldiers charged for kidnapping, do not make me shame, when my soldiers are charged for assault and battery, robbery, do not do me that. I shall be your friend when you walk straight but I will be your biggest enemy when you walk the wrong path," Warner said.