Moonilal calls for CCTV cameras in Aripo after another body found

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Roodal Moonilal

THE DAY after another body was found in the Heights of Aripo, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is questioning why there are no CCTV cameras in the area.

In a media release on Wednesday Moonilal asked when the Government would install cameras in “that dumping ground.”

In the last 14 months three bodies have been found in the area.

The most recent was discovered on Tuesday afternoon by a power-walker at about 4.34 pm. Police reported that the body of a man had been found wearing a black jersey with white horizontal stripes, chequered coloured pants and black sneakers with white soles. He was found approximately five feet down in a ditch near LP42.

On January 28 the decomposing body of Keithisha Cudjoe, 21, was found in Aripo. Cudjoe, a gas station attendant from Harding Place, Cocorite, was last seen on January 24. She was reported missing the day her body was found and was identified three days later.

In January last year the body of court clerk Andrea Bharatt was found a short distance away from Cudjoe’s. Bharatt, 23, was abducted on her way home on January 29, 2021. Her body was found five days later.

Moonilal said National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds failed in acknowledging that half the CCTV cameras in the country are not working. He said Hinds has made no effort to rectify this or to provide a timeline for having it solved.

Responding in Parliament on April 8 to questions about installing CCTV cameras, Hinds said: “Careful consideration must be given to site compatibility, including the availability of electricity supply, and the connectivity challenges at this remote location.

“Consideration must be given to these issues as regards the possible expansion of the CCTV network throughout TT, including at Aripo Heights.

“Discussions to this end continue with the relevant stakeholders, including the police service, the intelligence gathering agencies in TT, potential service providers, and experts in these matters to provide solutions.”

At the time he said of the 1,796 CCTV cameras throughout TT, 1,063 were fully functional, and 733 were considered either not fully functional or non-functional.

Moonilal said, “The meandering replies of Hinds to persistent questions in the Parliament on the installation of CCTV cameras and his hollow declaration of ‘consultations’ with stakeholders since 2021 suggest that the government is clueless as to the use of this strategic option to prevent criminal conduct.”

In July last year Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales and Arima MP Pennelope Beckles witnessed the installation of seven LED streetlights as part of a 27-LED installation project along the Aripo Road.