Tobago ACP: Operation Clean Sweep is bearing fruit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

ACP Collis Hazel, head of the Tobago divison. Photo by Roger Jacob

HEAD of the Tobago Division, ACP Collis Hazel, says the island’s anti-crime initiative, Operation Clean Sweep, which was implemented more than a week ago, has begun to bear significant results.

He said during the exercise, which was conducted in various parts of the island, eight people were arrested, “signalling a direct impact on the local criminal network.”

Additionally, Hazel said the efforts of Tobago officers, in collaboration with those from the Guard & Emergency Branch and Inter-Agency Task Force, led to the recovery of a firearm and two rounds of ammunition, “a critical step in reducing the prevalence of illegal firearms on the streets of the island.”

He added, “The exercises have been successful in disrupting drug-related activities, with 197 grams of marijuana being seized. This not only demonstrates the commitment by the police to tackling drug-related crime but also their effectiveness in executing these operations.”

Hazel spoke to Newsday in the wake of the shooting death of a man at Signal Hill on Thursday.

Police said Nigel Julien, also known as Tall Man, who lived in an apartment at Signal Hill/Lambeau Road, was killed in a drive-by shooting shortly after 9 pm.

Julien, a mason, is said to be originally from Quarry Street, Laventille.

Investigations are continuing.

Julien’s death came two weeks after the body of Akinde Bissoon, was discovered at Old Grange, Tobago. Police said his body bore marks of violence.

The island’s first murder for the year took place on New Year’s Day with the shooting of dancehall artist Kareem Small. He was shot while liming with friends near his home at Patience Hill.

Saying that Tobago police were adopting a zero-tolerance policy against crime and anti-social behaviour, Hazel said traffic enforcement was not overlooked in Operation Clean Sweep.

He said the implementation of a U-turn system resulted in the issuance of approximately 200 tickets.

“This move serves as a stark warning to delinquent drivers and reinforces the importance of road safety.”

Hazel added in an effort to increase police presence and deterrence, over 100 stop-and-search operations were conducted. “These operations are crucial in maintaining a sense of security and order, ensuring that the residents of Tobago can go about their daily lives without fear.”

He also said police have been working assiduously to ensure the safety of tourists.

“Over 33,000 tourists have visited the island since the launch of the cruise ship season where 33 cruise ships landed on the shores and, as such, the tourist-oriented policing has been working to ensure the safety of our visitors.”

Hazel praised the members of his team – Senior Superintendent Jackman, Superintendent Kirk, ASP Joseph, acting ASP Leetang and officers from the Inter-Agency Task Force, Guard and Emergency Branch, Task Force, CID, canine unit, TT Defence Force and Air Support – for their efforts thus far.