Hinds: Pepper spray permits soon

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

APPLICANTS for pepper spray can look forward to being considered for approval within a month’s time, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds told the House of Representatives on Friday.

He was replying to a question listed in the name of Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo and posed by opposition whip David Lee over the delay in implementing the Firearms (Amendment) Act 2021 – which regulates pepper spray – since its assent last year July.

Hinds said the full operationalisation of this act to facilitate pepper spray permits had been delayed by the temporary suspension of the operations of the Firearms Permit Unit of the police.

“However, I am advised by the TTPS that applications for permits for the use of pepper spray will be processed during this month, June, and as such it is expected that the act would be fully implemented in July.”

In a fresh question, Naparima MP Rodney Charles asked if ballistic tests have been completed into the shooting death of PC Clarence Gilkes.

During a police operation at Rich Plain, Diego Martin in April, Gilkes was shot dead, with the police initially blaming a suspect but with an autopsy then finding he had been shot in the back of his head upon which three police officers were suspended from duty pending investigations.

Hinds told Charles the Forensic Sciences Centre had completed the ballistic tests, with the results sent to the police on April 22.

“However this matter remains under active investigation by the TTPS and until the investigation is completed it would be quite improper of me to make any further commentary upon it.”

Charles shot, “Is the minister prepared to say, whether on the results of the ballistic tests, which gun, from which police officer, killed Officer Gilkes?”

Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George disallowed the supplemental question.

In a new question, Charles asked the name, supplier and cost of spyware used by the TTPS.

Hinds replied, “The Interception of Communications Act permits the lawful interception of communications to treat with crimes and criminality.

“It does not countenance the concepts of spying or spyware. This inappropriate terminology that is being promoted by the Opposition promotes an aura of illegality and is rejected as being completely improper since this misleading language is clearly intended to create doubt and mistrust.”

He said police had acquired technology for use under the act and this technology has since been transferred to the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) owing to Government policy. Hinds said the Opposition must know it would harm national security to disclose details of the name and supplier of the technology. He said the technology cost about $4 million and covered a four year lease of equipment, with support services.