Tuesday, January 23, 2018

PM: We will not support rogue cops

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday distanced herself from any decision to set up the New Flying Squad Investigation Unit (NFSIU).

Speaking last night at a news conference at Piarco International Airport, immediately following her return from Haiti where she attended the Caricom Intercessional Meeting, Persad-Bissessar "categorically" stated: "This matter of any new Flying Squad was never discussed with me nor brought to the National Security Council or to the Cabinet."

She stressed that any initiative such as the creation or revival of any police unit must be reviewed by the National Security Council, the Cabinet, and must be fully considered and endorsed by the Commissioner of Police.

"We will not support the establishment of any rogue police or para-police unit or security entity which is not within the jurisdiction and control of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and, where necessary, the control of the Police Service and the Commissioner of Police."

The Prime Minister said she had asked National Security Minister Jack Warner for a complete report on the allegations of the existence of the NFSIU for her attention, as well as for the attention of the National Security Council. She said after she receives this report, she would make further pronouncements on the issue.

She said newspaper headlines suggested some persons have perceived the "erroneous sanctioning" of the "infamous Flying Squad of the past".

"Any endeavour by my Government to address the crime problem would be fully within the law," she said.

Warner, who was at the airport, uncharacteristically remained at the back of the VIP Lounge.

Persad-Bissessar said she wanted to join with the nation in mourning the death of Sergeant Haydn Manwaring, who died in the line of duty on Tuesday.

"Deepest condolences to Sergeant Manwaring's family and his wider Police Service family."

She also wished Constable Nicholas Phillip, who was injured alongside Manwaring, a speedy recovery.

The Prime Minister stated that crime remained highest on her Government's agenda.

She said on the way back to this country, she was reading the newspapers and there were "so many murders".

She said creative ways would have to be found to address spiralling crime and cited the precepting of soldiers as one of the initiatives Government would be seriously pursuing.

On the issue of the Point Fortin Highway, the Prime Minister said the line minister had been asked to "act" on the Highway Review Committee's report, to study the recommendations, so that "we can engage in appropriate discussions as soon as the report has been made available to the public".

She said Works Minister Emmanuel George would advise the Cabinet after these discussions.

The Prime Minister also gave a detailed account of the initiatives coming out of the Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Haiti.