Hinds: Defence Force, police accounting for ammunition

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Fitzgerald Hinds –

NATIONAL Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said the TT Defence Force (TTDF) and police service have mechanisms to account for all of their ammunition.

He made this statement on Friday before the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives approved a supplementation of $128,899,000 for his ministry.

Hinds dismissed as unrealistic, utterances from Opposition MPs that he could go personally to each police station or defence force base in TT and manually document every single bullet that belonged to each of these respective protective services.

He reminded Opposition MPs that the questions they were posing to him were one ones which he already answered

With respect to the TTDF, Hinds said, “I was given the assurance by the Chief of Defence Staff, leading the TTDF, that when the reports of ammunition marked ‘TTR (TT Regiment)’ began to appear, action was taken to improve the security measures (to prevent TTDF ammunition falling into the wrong hands).

TTDF officers from their armour accompany their colleagues to the firing range to account for every bullet used there.

Hinds said, “I give you the assurance that the Defence Force and the Police Service have accentuated their processes to ensure that these things do not happen.”

Responding to a question from Naparima MP Rodney Charles about ammunition from the TTDF and police service showing up at crime scenes, Hinds said, “I did indicate to this Parliament that it is quite possible that persons who may have had access to these things…other than in the way that the member is talking…may have been where the vulnerability is.”

Hinds also reminded MPs that Cabinet has approved the acquisition of additional vehicles for the Fire Service.

“Some have already come to TT and another is expected very shortly.”

Charles asked if Hinds was giving the population the assurance that fire stations that lack the necessary vehicles and equipment to fight fires would have those resources.

Hinds recalled indicating previously that out of the 25 fire stations in TT, six lack the necessary vehicles they need to respond to distress calls.

In response to Charles, Hinds said the additional money being sought by the ministry would be used to repair existing vehicles used by the Fire Service which are currently inoperable.

As an example, he disclosed the ministry is requesting $600,000 to repair four emergency tenders.