THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine. – File Photo
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine is in support of the joint security effort aimed at fighting against the increase in gang-related crime on the island.
Augustine addressed a joint press conference between the Assembly, the TT Police Service (TTPS) as well as the TT Defence Force (TTDF) at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on May 10.
During the press conference, ACP Collis Hazel announced that the effort, saying that the joint force is a measure meant to deal with gangs believed to be behind the spate of murders, of which six have been recorded for the year, so far.
Augustine said the Assembly is already in step with the two arms of national security in providing some much-needed resources.
“There was a need for accommodation that we can treat with the manpower shortage on the island, in so far as our security mechanism. That has already been treated with in that the THA is providing the necessary accommodation for up to about 30 additional officers to augment the strength here on the island.”
He said there was also a need for access to vehicles so that they can carry out their task.
“The THA again is making that provision – in fact, the request is for four additional specific to the operations, the THA is again providing that to ensure that they can complete the task necessary.”
With regards to the CCTV cameras on the island, he said some assistance will be given in this area.
“I am ashamed to tell you how much based on my information are not working on the island. We are somewhere in the region of 150-156 not working at present on the island and some might be just lighting challenges, so the THA is preparing at the moment – in fact, we’ve started conversations with several players in so far as cameras systems and being able to procure for the island.”
In terms of informant support, he said the THA will be utilising the services of the 211 Information Technology Centre.
“We are using 211 to develop an app to create an anonymous line so that we can have a proper informant system so that one can be assured that you can call, and you can relay information that would get safely to the TTPS without being dangerous to yourself – that is important.”
He said the executive is considering attaching a reward system unique to the island. On the matter of derelict vehicles, he said across the island, in public spaces are littered with derelict vehicles.
These , he said are of no use – they’re not road worthy, you see them all the time parked up there for donkey years- wheels gone, people take what parts they want and it’s just there.
“This is creating a security problem. It is constricting roadways so in some instances where the TTPS and the armed forces need to engage in speedy response, it is retarding that effort.
“Secondly, they have found that criminals are using these vehicles as storage spaces for contraband materials and of course, it’s a public health issue.”
But just how do they intend to deal with the situation?
“We give everybody on the island who has a derelict vehicle parked on public roadways or on publicly owned lands to remove them. We give you one week to remove them, or we would start removing them for you.”
He added: “Last time I checked, I think we can start making money from scrap iron and the THA could do with the money. So, its either you move them or we move them for you.”
He said there are also some seafaring vehicles littering the beaches all over and they too would be removed.