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Warner: CCTV cameras by year's end

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

CCTV cameras will be installed "almost immediately" in Tobago and in crime hotspots such as Port of Spain and environs, Laventille, Morvant, Beetham Estate and Diego Martin.

This was announced yesterday by National Security Minister Jack Warner at the post-Cabinet media conference at the Prime Minister's office in St Clair.

Warner said Cabinet approved Phase 1 and 2 for the implementation of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras "by December 30...in time for the Christmas and Carnival season".

Phase 1 and 2 would involve the areas of Laventille, Morvant, Beetham, Port of Spain and its environs, Tobago, San Fernando, Tunapuna, St Augustine, Arima, Chaguanas, Marabella, Trincity, Diego Martin and Petit Valley.

Warner said these cameras would cost the Government an average of $5 million per month or $60 million a year. They would work in conjunction with the 300 existing cameras in Port of Spain.

He said Trinidad and Tobago was not sufficiently covered by a surveillance network to assist the law enforcement agencies in combatting crime and criminal activities and therefore it was critical and urgent to expand the surveillance system.

The Minister said the first phase was being done on a sole selective basis through renegotiation with TSTT based on an existing contract which Government has with that company.

Phase one would involve 500 cameras placed at strategic points.

He said there would also be police command centres throughout Trinidad and Tobago into which the cameras would feed.

One centre would be established in each of the nine police jurisdictions and the nine divisional command centres will in turn be linked to a central command centre.

Each of these command centres would have response teams, consisting of police and civilian personnel, Warner said.

He added that there would be a CCTV operations centre--with one branch in Tobago and one in Trinidad.

Warner said Phase 3 to 8 would continue through a request for proposals policy to engage a selective bidding process with local providers.

Phase 3 would involve San Fernando, Marabella and environs; Phase four--Tunapuna, St Augustine, Arima and Trincity; Phase five--Chaguanas, Diego Martin and Petit Valley; Phase six--Couva, Point Lisas, Siparia and Penal; Phase seven--Point Fortin and La Brea; Phase eight--all other regions.

Warner said all the surveys suggested there would be positive results when these cameras are installed.

He said Government had also put out tenders for police vehicles and it was in the process of discussing new uniforms for the police with the Police Social and Welfare Division, "hopefully effective from January 13".

Warner said Cabinet also agreed that the ministries of National Security and Transport would collaborate for the establishment of an electronic vehicle identification system.

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