Speaking to reporters shortly after conducting an inspection of the joint Police/ Army patrols at Mon Repos roundabout, San Fernando on Monday, the Prime Minister dismissed claims the limited state of emergency would discourage foreign direct investment.
“I think investor confidence will be boosted as the results continue to come in and as we restore our country to a place of safety and security,’ she said. “I am not afraid of any initial loss, if there is any at all, I think the opposite will occur, I think investor confidence will be boosted as our country becomes more secure.”
And asked about the multi-million drug bust in Piarco last week, Persad-Bissessar said the $21 million drug seizure, along with other successes by the police service had predicated the emergency action.
“It has to do in part with why we decided to go with this limited state of emergency at this time, it is a fact that because of these successes of the police, there are reprisals and retaliation by the criminal elements within their own groupings and therefore we envisioned there may have been a further spiking in terms of criminal activity,’ she said.
Asked whether Government would reconsider the purchase of the Off Shore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), she said the answer was a definite no.
“The Government will not reconsider the OPVs. We have an entire strategic plan to use smaller vessels that will man the shores of Trinidad and Tobago rather than be out in the ocean,” she said. “So we do have a plan to lock down the entire coastal area with smaller vessels which will cost us less money but will be far more effective, so we do have a coastal plan than does not include the OPV’s,’ she added.
Persad-Bissessar also noted measures had been put in place to monitor the activities of the security services during the limited state of emergency.
“We do have an inter-ministerial team who is working very closely with the protective services in this matter and we will meet every single day,” Persad-Bissessar said. “Every aspect of the item will be looked at to ensure there is no abuse of the law, whether it be criminals or whether it be members of the protective services. We will do everything we can within the law to protect the citizens.”
Earlier, Persad-Bissessar had expressed satisfaction at the operation saying the situation was “well under control”’ and that the criminal element were being “flushed out from their hiding spots.”
“They wanted to wage a war against you, well we have responded with everything at our disposal,” she said.
“Please be assured that we will not continue with the imposition of the limited state of emergency for a day or hour longer than is necessary but neither will we cease it a minute before its possible objectives have been achieved,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar reiterated that the operation’s measurements of success were the “arrest and interrogation of key criminal elements, weapons confiscated and the disbanding of gangs.”
She also signaled her intention to meet with the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Keith Rowley to seek his party’s support for the death penalty and other legislative items.