Recalling that Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Williams was appointed last September to chair a three-member committee to oversee SAUTT’s restructuring, Sandy said Cabinet approved several recommendations of the committee in December.
Among the recommendations approved is that “SAUTT is expected to cease operations as an entity by August 31, 2011. There is to be the establishment of a single NIA which should be fully operational by September 1, 2011.”
Disclosing that Williams will head a three-member team to oversee the creation of the NIA, Sandy said the team will oversee the return of SAUTT officers back to their original postings within the Defence Force, Police Service and Immigration Department.
Stating that SAUTT has a total of 686 members, Sandy said, “It is recommended that all units who will be going back to respective parent units ought not to be compromised and they ought to stay together.”
He said the contracts of all British personnel at SAUTT will be terminated by April 30. “Most of them have been here in excess of three years and we want to thank them expressly for the contribution they made in the crime-fighting effort,” he stated.
He said the investigative inspectorate and financial branch of SAUTT will be transferred to the Police Service and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) respectively.
“All intercept communication technology and operations will be located within the NIA to avoid redundancy and possible abuse,” he said.
Sandy said SAUTT’s airship commonly called the blimp will be decommissioned immediately and sold. Its photographic instruments will be transferred to the unit’s helicopters. He was unable to say what kind of value Government could get for the airship. “We have never sold a blimp before,” he jokingly said adding that the blimp is unserviceable.
Explaining there was no difference in the salaries of regular police officers and SAUTT personnel, Sandy said the only difference was a $5,000 allowance given to officers seconded to SAUTT. “Upon relocation to their parent units, that $5,000 will be stopped,” he stated.
Sandy also indicated that these officers will retain their rank and any merit they received while serving in SAUTT when they return to their former units.
Observing that Government has invested considerable financial resources in training SAUTT’s various specialists, Sandy declared, “There is no way that we will allow that training and that investment to go down the drain. They will be absorbed in the scheme of things in the national security environment.”
Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim said some SAUTT personnel will be enlisted to establish a new training academy that will collaborate with the academies run by the Police Service and the Defence Force.