Monday, January 22, 2018

AG: Major crisis averted


TOP TWO: Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, right, and Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs during the daily news briefing at the Riverside Plaza, Port of Spain, yesterday. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

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THE state of emergency has successfully stopped a crisis which could have led to a major loss of life, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has said.

Ramlogan said the decision to declare a state of emergency was made after security agencies discovered an "immediate threat and endangerment of public safety".

"There was an immediate threat and endangerment of public safety. Innocent citizens could have lost their lives had we not declared a state of emergency and taken swift and immediate action," Ramlogan said.

"When the state of emergency was declared by his Excellency it was in response to intelligence received from the security agencies which we cannot share with the population but which I can assure you we averted a crisis," he said.

Ramlogan made the statement yesterday during a news briefing held to give updates to the media and the public on the state of emergency and curfew restrictions which are in effect.

The briefing was held at the Riverside Plaza office of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) in Port of Spain.

Ramlogan said based solely on the fact that a crisis was averted means that the state of emergency can already be deemed a success.

"There has been some question about the measurement of the success of the state of emergency and the operations pursuant to that state of emergency," Ramlogan said.

"So the first immediate success I feel confident to note, quite separate and apart from the seizures and the arrests, is the fact that a crisis has been averted by the declaration of the state of emergency and the imposition of curfews in certain specifically identified areas," he said.

Ramlogan said he could not give information on the crisis that was averted but more details will become known on September 2 when Parliament convenes.

"More will be said about this when the President's statement is delivered to the Speaker of the House and Parliament convenes to debate that statement," Ramlogan said.

Ramlogan said the state of emergency was also successful because since its declaration no murders have been reported.

Eleven murders were reported between last week Thursday to Sunday before the imposition of the state of emergency.

Ramlogan said the state of emergency was also called on the heels of a major drug bust and this prevented the possibility of reprisals.

Last Friday, 19-year-old Nathaniel Bowen of Carib Homes, Victory Street, Arima, appeared before Senior First Court Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes charged with being in possession of 54 kilogrammes of pure cocaine valued at $22 million.

Ramlogan said the drug bust and the subsequent state of emergency stopped "in its track an entire drug trafficking ring which used Trinidad and Tobago as a transshipment point".

The state of emergency stopped "a further $100 million of cocaine coming into the country on a weekly basis," he said.