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Thursday 22 February 2018

Police unable to cope

Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar declared on Friday that “secrets” will not be allowed to mar public perception of the report from the Commission of Inquiry into the 1990 coup attempt.

The Prime Minister’s annoucement was with respect to what she said was a National Security Council decision to declassify a chapter, Chapter 12, marked “confidential” by the Commission. Chapter 12 is published hereunder:








12.1 The Commission of Enquiry has combined its observations and recommendations under these three Terms of Reference since it appears to the Commission that they are inter-related. At the outset, we wish to make the following points:

(i) We owe a great debt of gratitude to a number of witnesses who are highly experienced and expert in security matters. They readily shared their experiences and expertise with us.

Owing to the sensitive nature of many of the matters discussed by these witnesses, their evidence was necessarily taken in camera. In the circumstances, those witnesses are not identified in this Chapter.

(ii) We were made aware of a number of reports previously submitted to the Government on aspects of security policy and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. We have no intention of trying “to re-invent the wheel” and we have not seen it as our function to offer critiques of those reports.

(iii) In making observations and recommendations, we are conscious that the subjective opinions of the witnesses can sometimes assume such prominence in their thinking as to outweigh a broader and more objective rationalization. (iv) We have departed from the customary format of the Chapters of this Report to lend greater emphasis to observations and recommendations and, accordingly, we have reduced citations of evidence to a minimum.

Short Historical Background

12.2. When the events of 27 July, 1990 occurred, there were no properly functioning and coordinated security agencies in Trinidad and Tobago. There was a Minister of National Security and a National Security Council (NSC). But the NSC existed in name and on paper only. It did not function.

12.3. Special Branch was responsible for the Intelligence-gathering on behalf of the State. However, Special Branch was its own “republic’’. Though an arm of the Police Service, it did not see itself as being accountable to the Commissioner of Police. It determined, as a matter of culture and tradition, not to share information/Intelligence with any other agency, not even with the Defence Force. The arrangements for Intelligence-gathering were loose and haphazard.

12.4. That the then Head of Special Branch could testify that he never met with the Prime Minister before the attempted coup, speaks eloquently to the attitude of this agency to its duties and its sense of responsibility.

12.5. It seems to the Commission that, in 1990, no one recognised that there was a need for an Intelligence Community that worked co-operatively and in a formal manner. The concept that information, in the context of intelligence-gathering, is more powerful when it is shared was either unknown or ignored. There were agencies or departments of Government which gathered information but, since it was not shared, its value was not properly exploited.

Agencies Created after 1990

12.6. No detailed analysis of the events of 1990, from the perspective of the security agencies, appears to have been carried out to determine what were the deficiencies and what remedial action was necessary. Since 1990, several security agencies have been created.

(A) The National Security Secretariat

12.7. After 1995, the National Security Council (NSC) functioned. It comprised the Prime Minister (Chairman), the Minister of National Security, the Attorney General and one other Minister. It was and remains the principal policy-making body. And the Cabinet conferred on it a large measure of autonomy by delegating to the NSC final decision-making authority in most matters of security.

12.8. In early 1995, the NSC established a Secretariat, answerable to the Prime Minister, but working on a day-to-day basis with, and often through, the Ministry of National Security. The purpose of the Secretariat was to provide a unified structure into which the various other security agencies would make a contribution to Intelligence-gathering.

12.9. The structure of the Secretariat allowed for information flow from all sources to be put together in order to create a national Intelligence picture. Essentially, the Secretariat was a coordinator and, where gaps existed in Intelligence, the Secretariat was tasked to fill those gaps. An Advisory Committee including Heads of the Protective Services and the Head of Special Branch was an important part of the structure.

12.10. One of the key mandates of the Secretariat was to advise the Executive branch of Government of any trends in certain activities inimical to the interests of the State and the likelihood of certain types of activity threatening the security of the State to allow appropriate policy and operational decisions to be taken.

12.11. Reports from agencies were submitted, meetings were held, information was shared and discussed, analyses were done and a final product was sent to the NSC. The Secretariat serviced the NSC in much the same way as the Cabinet Secretariat serviced the Cabinet. After assessment and analysis were done, the Secretariat prepared a National Intelligence Report for submission to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister decided whether the Report should be referred to the NSC. Over time, the Secretariat has expanded its establishment and refined its operations. We received no concerns about its present functioning.

(B) The Security Intelligence Agency (SIA)

12.12. About the same time as the creation of the Secretariat, a new agency came into being. The Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) was established specifically to focus on electronically-collected Intelligence. In the vocabulary of Intelligence, it was “a closed source”, i.e. gathering Intelligence covertly.

12.13. In its original conceptualisation, the SIA was intended to be civilianised and not populated by persons recruited from the Protective Services. The Cabinet decision which agreed to the establishment of the SIA did not envisage a continuing role for Special Branch in Intelligence-gathering. Special Branch was to be subsumed under the SIA which would have primary responsibility for collecting Intelligence. Special Branch’s focus would be VIP protection, and screening applicants for work permits, citizenship and similar matters.

12.14. As it turned out, however, even after the creation of the SIA, Special Branch was not divested of its Intelligence-gathering function.

Nevertheless, the SIA was the primary Intelligence agency and sent its reports to the Secretariat for processing together with products from other agencies such as Customs, Defence Force, Special Branch and any others that were relevant. The Secretariat chaired meetings of the representatives of all the agencies and produced reports for the NSC.

12.15. The SIA had no legislative basis although we were told that it was acknowledged that there should be statutory support for it and it was believed that legislation was being drafted.

12.16. The approach to restructuring the Intelligence systems was incremental. That was understandable having regard to the need for careful screening of personnel and the cost implications inherent in setting up a technology-based organisation intended to function on a 24/7 basis.

12.17. At the time of preparing this Report, the SIA has been re-named the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

(C) The Strategic Services Agency (SSA)

12.18. This Agency was originally called the Office of Strategic Services. It was a department of the Ministry of National Security and was established in 1993. Its focus was on drug trafficking and its creation was a response to the requirements of two International Conventions. The SSA was established by the Strategic Services Agency Act, Chapter 15:06.

12.19. There was a sort of merger of the SSA and the SIA in so far as the Director of the SIA was appointed Director of the SSA, apparently in anticipation of a merged entity. However, the two entities continued to function separately. In October 2011, the Director of the SSA and the person in charge of the SIA were one and the same. We were told that a consultant was engaged to develop a new structure for the two entities.

(D) The Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT)

12.20. SAUTT began its operations in 2005/2006 as an entity within the Ministry of National Security pending the required legislation. Its Director was a member of the Advisory Committee to the NSC. This Committee comprised the Heads of the Protective Services and other agencies relevant to security. SAUTT was initially a response of the Government to a worrying spate of kidnappings and its establishment was announced by the Prime Minister, Mr Patrick Manning, during one of his Budget speeches.

12.21. Brig. Peter Joseph (as he then was) was appointed to head SAUTT. The staff of the Unit included personnel from the Military, the Police and the Coast Guard. One witness stated that – “SAUTT was not an organisation that was welcomed by most arms of the security structure because it was seen to be doing things that other people were already doing and there was a perceived duplication of effort.” This criticism was supported by the comment:

“There continued to be the creation of agencies every time there seemed to be a political need to be seen to be doing something but without examining and rationalising what you already had. Every time there was a need to do something, they created something without going to the Police Service.”

12.22. The incidence of crime was increasing and the Police seemed unable to cope. The view was expressed to the Commission that greater attention and resources needed to be given to the Police Service and law enforcement generally, as well as the criminal justice system.12.23. SAUTT did not usually interact with the Secretariat. It saw itself as a separate entity and tended to develop apart from the rest of the Intelligence Community. It had a direct link to the Executive. The compensation packages for its staff also caused dissatisfaction among the other players in the Intelligence Community as did the fact that SAUTT had the ability to hand-pick personnel from other agencies.

12.24. The evidence is that SAUTT was “an operational entity and not really an Intelligence agency although they were doing Intelligence work to service operational and tactical responses.” They had certain target areas. “They were dealing with kidnapping and serious and

organised crime. So there was an element of duplication. SAUTT reaped commendable success in the reduction of crimes of kidnapping from an annual number of approximately 50 to 7. The Unit also tackled gun-running and built up contacts in key areas.”

12.25. Before concluding this review of the security agencies established after 1990, we need to say a word about another agency, the Joint Operations Command Centre (JOCC) which was established in 1997.

(E) JOCC/National Inter-Agency Coordinating Centre

12.26. JOCC, an initiative of Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall, was re-christened the National Inter-Agency Coordinating Centre. Originally, this Centre was conceived as a physical space to allow for bringing into the Intelligence Community all of the players to conduct joint operations, joint responses and to improve the level of Intelligence. The Centre was co-located with a Radar Centre.

12.27. In its early operations, the Centre’s orientation was towards maritime activity and interdiction but Intelligence was received from all sources. Full implementation of the work of the Centre was precipitated by a land exercise involving the JAM “who were beginning to spread their wings on the land at Mucurapo. It was tried and tested on that occasion and worked extremely well”, according to a witness. The Centre was also conceptualised as a “Crisis Management Centre” since such a facility was not in existence in 1990.

12.28. There were difficulties in having the Centre operate maximally. “Admiral Kelshall had a very hard time getting representation from the operational entities”. Its efficiency was retarded by several problems which included interpersonal relationships, personal agendas being pursued, the quest for dominance, and similar matters where the human element predominated over the interests of the organisation.

12.29. Soon after 2001, the Centre “became less vibrant with Admiral Kelshall’s departure from its leadership”. We understand that the Centre and the Radar Centre are now under the control of the Defence Force.

12.30. That brief survey of some of the several agencies created after 1990 highlights, in our view, the need for proper rationalization of the security agencies in Trinidad and Tobago. We were not made privy to the present thinking of the Government but we set out hereunder a number of observations and recommendations in the hope that the Government may find some merit in them. Based on the evidence tendered to us, the Commission is of opinion that the entire national security architecture of Trinidad and Tobago needs to be revisited as we set out below.

The Police Service

12.31. Before detailing our recommendations, we think it necessary to make certain observations in respect of the Police Service. With respect to crime, it was represented to us that law enforcement, specifically the Police Service, needs to be made more professional and “brought into the 21st Century”. The Police Service complained that SAUTT and the SIA had all the necessary equipment whereas the Police were lacking.

12.32. One weakness of the Police Service, revealed during the spate of kidnappings, was that information and Intelligence within the different units of the Service were not centralized, so that there could be proper processing, evaluation and efficient dissemination. However, an attempt has been made to rectify this situation by establishing and operationalising a Criminal Intelligence Unit. This is thought to be a positive innovation since, ultimately, Intelligence has to be translated into law enforcement. It was the view of witnesses that, by 2009, the SIA, as the principal Intelligence Agency, became more involved in providing Intelligence for tactical and direct operational responses, as opposed to formulating policy on strategic Intelligence.

12.33. Special Branch as a department of the Police Service has continued to perform its several functions and we highlighted its mandate in Chapter 7.


12.34. The years since 1990 have spawned a relentless upward spiralling of crime impacting adversely on the sense of security of the people and threatening the stability of the Republic. New forms of criminality have emerged since 1990 and there is reason to believe that international organised crime has taken root. Trafficking in illegal narcotic substances and trafficking in illegal firearms, have the potential to undermine democratic governance and corrupt public officials. Worst of all, the loss of human life that is a consequence of high levels of murder, is a wanton waste of human resources.

12.35. Our observation is that the responses of successive governments have been sporadic and ad hoc, suggestive of a kind of “knee-jerk” reaction to particular, disquieting situations. The Commission makes specific recommendations below at (1) to (33).

(1) Reevaluation of National Security and Intelligence Agencies 12.36. We respectfully recommend that the entire national security architecture should be revisited. We are mindful that there have been several studies and reports prior to this Commission of Enquiry which, if properly approached and analysed, together with the empirical evidence available from the agencies mentioned above, can produce an appropriate security architecture for Trinidad and Tobago.

12.37. We are also satisfied that there is no need to import expertise from abroad. There exists in Trinidad and Tobago, a sufficient number of persons, whose knowledge, experience, expertise and sense of patriotism, imbue them with the appropriate credentials to develop a security framework for their country that is relevant to meet the challenges of crime and security effectively.

(2) Legislation for National Security Council and Secretariat

12.38. The National Security Council and Secretariat should be put on a legislative basis to ensure their more effective functioning and to lend authority to their decisions.

(3) National Security Operations Centre

12.39. No National Security Operations Centre existed in 1990. We are of opinion that such a centre, as a focal point for all arms of the security and Intelligence community, would greatly enhance the capability of the State to respond to emergencies. It would provide the ultimate communications platform among the various security agencies and be the agency to issue National Security Alerts when necessary.

(4) Rationalisation of SIA, SSA and SAUTT

12.40. There needs to be rationalisation of entities such as SIA, SSA and SAUTT. One agency should be created from these three. Duplication of effort was evident when these three agencies were in operation. Moreover, the relationship of such agencies to the Police Service needs to be carefully thought out to ensure that there is no duplication of function and effort and that lines of authority and command are clear. The objective should be to establish a symbiotic and collaborative relationship among the agencies.

12.41. The Commission accepts and supports the view that specific units/entities should be established to target specific types of criminal activity, e.g. drugs and arms trafficking. The Commission also accepts that Intelligence-gathering is indispensable to success in the war against crime. Thus, such anti crime structures that are finally developed should have Intelligence-gathering capabilities. But all Intelligence-gathering should be coordinated and shared through the aegis of the Secretariat of the NSC.

(5) National Intelligence Superstructure

12.42. The Commission received strong recommendation that it is necessary to rationalize the disparate agencies which provide Intelligence and consolidate them into one composite authority in the nature of a national security superstructure. This body should have its own staff and a compensation package designed to attract “the brightest and best” analysts and operatives.

The appointment of the Head of this organisation should be made by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister after written consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

This superstructural organisation should, as far as practicable, be comprised of civilians, duly polygraphed and specially trained. Recruitment of personnel from the Military and/or Police should be avoided. Analysts should be assigned to target particular objects of attention, e.g. arms trafficking, drug trafficking and gangs but be ‘cross-trained’ in the event of unavailability of personnel.

12.43. The Commission is of the view, however, that the operations and modalities of such an over-arching structure should be carefully thought out to avoid undue bureaucracy, infiltration, corruption and cross-contamination.

(6) Heads of Security Meetings

12.44. The issues of tasking and coordinating within the security structures require attention. The NSC will often only be able to give approval to or guidelines for action or response. Who carries out a particular task and who co-ordinates action or response may become problematic.

12.45. We recommend that Meetings of Heads of Security should be institutionalised, perhaps convened every two weeks. These Meetings would require the attendance of the Heads of the Protective Services, Customs, Immigration and Prisons. They should be chaired by the Minister of National Security. It is important to involve the Prisons. Indeed, consideration should be given to making the Prisons an Intelligence Cell. Prisoners plan criminal activity from within the confines of a Prison and often disclose information about previous criminal activities during their incarceration.

12.46. Subcommittees of the Heads of Security can be formulated and tasked to deal with specific issues and then pass information to the requisite executing Unit or report back as the situation requires. We are of the view that proper tasking and coordinating are critical to the success of operations.

12.47. The objective of Heads of Security Meetings is the involvement of every key Intelligence actor on the national stage with key analysts in order to have, at all times, a comprehensive picture of the national situation.

(7) Legislation

12.48. Appropriate legislation should be enacted to govern the operations of any of the entities established to function as security or Intelligence agencies.

(8) Direct Action Task Force

12.49. In respect of operational matters, we recommend the creation of a Direct Action Task Force (DATF) as a first response or first strike Unit under the command of the Commissioner of Police. The DATF’s role would involve direct intervention in areas or situations of potential or actual criminal activity.

(9) Crisis Management Centre and Information Management Centre

12.50. One of the deficiencies in the security arrangements in 1990 was the absence of a central body to manage the crisis occasioned by the attempted coup. There was also no Central Emergency Plan.

12.51. The case for a Crisis Management Centre is overwhelming. It is axiomatic that such a Centre should exist. Allied to such a Centre should be an Information Management Centre to coordinate and disseminate information to the media and the public.

Were it not for 610 Radio in 1990, the public would have been at an even greater disadvantage than they were in 1990. And the media arrangements at the Holiday Inn Hotel left much to be desired. There seemed to have been a reluctance on the part of the local media to make use of the Holiday Inn facility. On the other hand, the foreign media did not appear to have any inhibitions.

(10) The Police Service and Law Enforcement

12.52. Policing crime in Trinidad and Tobago today seems comparable to walking up an escalator going downwards. It seems as though the Police Service is unable to respond to the challenge of contemporary crime effectively. Violent crime seems to be an everyday occurrence. Drugs and guns are at the centre of much of Trinidad and Tobago’s crime problem.

12.53. Crime and the fear of crime have reduced the quality of life for most of the population. Crime is one societal phenomenon about which every individual seems to have his/her own explanation and solution. But there is no single explanation of crime. International criminological evidence still holds to the view that criminality is best explained on the basis of multi-factor theories.

12.54. If the starting point is that a variety of factors may predispose to crime, then surely the response to crime must be multifaceted. Many of us have our own ideas of what will work to reduce crime. However, the international evidence shows that only a limited number of strategies have proven successful in the fight against crime.

(11) Specific Targeted Law Enforcement Strategies

12.55. So far as law enforcement is concerned, the following have been shown by the Lawrence Sherman Report, ‘Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising’, and other studies to actually work in reducing offending:

• Strengthening the resources of law enforcement agencies;

• Diversifying Police strategies, for example, by establishing neighbourhood watches; increasing the mobility of the Police; and adopting strategies of community policing and problem-oriented policing.

• Assisting the public in situational crime prevention through public education;

• Modernising the administration of justice and the penal system;

• Continuing research, evaluation and analysis to inform anticrime strategies.

12.56. The Commission therefore recommends that the resources of the Police Service be strengthened in the following areas, mentioned at (a) to (d) below:

(a) Technological Resources

12.57. The pace of moving from a paper-based system to an electronically-based system should be accelerated. A contemporary state-of-the art telecommunications system should be installed and contemporary fingerprint, biometric and Intelligence technologies should be acquired.

(b) Human Resource Development

12.58. The Commission is aware that policing is no longer seen as an attractive profession to many of today’s youth. But the quality of recruits has to be improved by enhancement of the terms and conditions of Police Officers.

Commensurately, however, the entry level for enlistment in the Service is too low; three ‘O’ Level passes or their equivalent: If terms and conditions are enhanced, it is probable that enlistment in the Service will be more attractive to a better-educated recruit.

12.59. Provision should be made to permit the recruitment of an appropriately qualified officer directly at the level of Assistant Superintendent upon condition that the officer undergoes relevant overseas training.

(c) Training and Curriculum Change

12.60. The top management of the Police Service should be exposed to regular training opportunities abroad to bolster professionalism. A state-of-the art Training Institute for Police Officers should be built in central Trinidad.

12.61. The curriculum at the Police Training College should be redesigned to lay greater emphasis on training for policing with a heavier concentration on teaching relevant law. The military aspect of Police training should be deemphasised; for example, foot drill and rifle drill. We were told that “60% of a Police recruit’s training is foot drill and military stuff”. This should be counterbalanced by more training in the use of side arms and the weapons specific to particular aspects of Police work.

(d) Mechanical Resources

12.62. The mobility of the Police Service is a critical factor in proactive and reactive policing. The Government must ensure that the visibility of the Police is always high. This requires the provision and availability of vehicles to serve and reassure the public as well as to protect them.

(12) Diversification of Police Strategies

12.63. “Community policing” has replaced the former nomenclature ‘Resident Beat Officer’. Essentially, community policing promotes interaction with communities and seeks to find solutions for problems as defined by the communities. “Problem-oriented policing” is practised by many Police Forces in England and the USA.

12.64. The Commission was heartened to learn that the Police Service is actively pursuing these two types of contemporary policing which have been shown to work. No resources should be spared to ensure that these types of policing are seriously and constantly pursued.

(13) Encouraging Situational Crime Prevention

12.65. Criminal activity can be prevented by manipulating the physical environment in order to reduce opportunities to commit crime. This is an approach to crime control that is termed Situational Crime Prevention. One way of achieving this result is by providing the public with information or education about crime prevention methods so that they can work effectively with others in the community. Another method involves the offering of incentives to businesses to encourage the implementation of physical measures designed to curb crime.

12.66. Properly organised situational crime prevention has been shown to be a most cost-effective method of reducing crime.

(14) Continuing Research, Evaluation and Analysis to Inform Anti-Crime Strategies

12.67. The Police Service should ensure that a Unit of Crime Policy and Analysis, staffed with criminologists and statisticians, develops and uses high quality information, advice and evaluation to assist the Ministry of National Security and criminal justice agencies in preventing and reducing crime.

12.68. However, because the prevention and reduction of crime are complicated and involve a certain amount of “cross-fertilisation”, the Crime and Policy Analysis Unit will be obliged to work in conjunction with other Ministries of Government.

(15) Deployment of Police Officers

12.69. The Commission is not in a position to recommend an increase in the personnel of the Police Service. Indeed, too often the cry of the uninformed is ‘Get More Police’. The Commission cautions that the first exercise that should be undertaken in considering the optimum strength of the Police Service is to analyse the total security personnel available in Trinidad and Tobago and, thereafter, analyse whether the deployment of such personnel is efficacious or whether better results could not be achieved by different deployment. In any event, the Commission recommends that deployment of Police Officers be constantly kept under review.

(16) Anti-Corruption Unit

12.70. It was represented to the Commission that corruption within the Police Service compromises its effectiveness and contributes to a loss of confidence in the Police Service among the public. The Police Service must put in place strategies and systems to counter corruption. The Commission recommends the establishment of a Unit specifically selected to monitor and investigate corruption within the security agencies generally.


(17) Removal from Camp Ogden

12.71. All witnesses agreed that the Defence Force’s Headquarters at Camp Ogden are not congruent with the needs of a contemporary Defence 1319 Force. We were told that it has long been recognised and accepted that a new location should be found for the Defence Force. Accordingly, we see no value in enumerating the reasons why the Defence Force should be moved from Camp Ogden. Those reasons were advanced to the Commission persuasively and we

therefore recommend that the Government take the necessary action to ensure that there is no inordinate delay in causing the Defence Force Headquarters to be relocated. 1990 exposed some of the limitations of Camp Ogden but, 23 years later, Camp Ogden is exactly where it was 23 years before.

(18) Legislation Relating to the Military

12.72. It was represented to the Commission that the legislation relating to the Military is archaic or deficient in many respects. For example, subsidiary legislation to be made under the Defence Act has, in fact, not been made. Thus, the Defence Force is required to use British Manuals of Military Law (Parts I, II and III) to assist in solving problems arising under the Defence Act.

12.73. There are no Regulations specific to the Army, the Air Wing or the Coast Guard and resort is had to the relevant British Army, Air Force and Navy Regulations. This is wholly inconsistent with an independent Trinidad and Tobago.

12.74. Where the Defence Act requires the creation of Rules of Procedure, Boards of Enquiry Rules and Detention Rules, none exists. Use is therefore made of the Queen’s Regulations. The Army Act, 1955 is out of date. No legislative basis exists for enlisting Reservists to lend assistance in times of emergency.

12.75. When the Defence Force was originally established, the spread and fear of communism were given as the raison d’?tre for that Force. The threat of communism disappeared in the early 1990s. Today’s threats to the security of State are drugs, illegal firearms and international organised crime. The Commission therefore recommends that, having regard to the changed nature of contemporary crime and security issues, there should be an analysis and evaluation of the role and function of the Defence Force to determine whether its role and function should not involve deeper collaboration with the civil power. No comprehensive legislation exists to provide for joint operations between the Military and the Police. It is vital that the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the Military is empowered to act in aid of the civil power be clearly defined and legislated.

(19) Working Party to Modernise Legislation

12.76. There are a number of retired senior officers and Commanders of the Defence Force who wish to offer their country the benefit of their expertise and experience. Accordingly, the Commission recommends that a Working Party comprising persons such as those mentioned, and assisted by a draftsperson from the Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s Chambers, be appointed to prepare drafts of amendments to primary legislation and drafts of necessary subsidiary legislation.

(20) Deployment of the Military

12.77. The Police have an aversion to going on operations in the forests and bush. They are not trained to undertake such exercises. On the other hand, the Military are trained for such tasks. We recommend that the Military be directed, as a matter of policy, to spend more time “in the bush” where there is information/Intelligence about the erection of camps and illegal activities.

(21) Establishment of Think Tanks

12.78. Both the Military and the Police Service would do well to establish “Think Tanks” on an ongoing basis, including retired Heads of the Protective Services and retired senior officers.

These times in Trinidad and Tobago require “All Hands on Deck”. There exists a significant number of retirees from the Protective Services who are willing and able to share their expertise, experience and institutional memories with currently serving officers. A mechanism should be created to use the talents of these officers in a productive way.

(22) Cadet Corps and Servol

12.79. Some witnesses alluded to widespread indiscipline among the youth. It was suggested to the Commission that Cadet Corps should be established in all Government secondary schools and there should be concerted efforts to expand the Servol, Boy Scout and Girl Guide Movements in all schools. We recommend that these suggestions be analysed to determine their viability and the obvious cost implications.


12.80. Historically, the Customs and Excise Department was a revenue collection agency. At this point of the 21st Century, the functions, operations and objectives of this Department have moved beyond revenue collection. More and more the Department has become a border security agency.

12.81. In this new incarnation, the department must be well-resourced and well-equipped, as set out below.

(23) Scanners and Anti-Corruption Unit

12.82. We recommend that state-of-the-art scanners be installed at all legal ports notwithstanding that the bulk of contraband enters the State through illegal ports. In addition to scanners, we recommend that a special independent Anti-Corruption Unit be established within the Customs and Excise department. Its responsibility will be to monitor, investigate and identify the activities of corrupt and rogue elements within the department. However, Government may consider whether it is preferable to establish separate independent Anti- Corruption Units for the Police Service and the Customs and Excise department, as we recommend, or whether it would not be more efficacious to establish one over-arching body.

(24) Vacancies

12.83. We recommend that the vacancies at entry level and senior levels of the Customs and Excise department be filled as a matter of urgency to satisfy the personnel needs of the department. However, it seems to us that the basic qualifications at entry level should be raised to at least the equivalent of ‘A’ Level with a view to improving the quality of staff.

(25) Psychometric and Polygraphic Testing and Financial Disclosure

12.84. Staff of all security agencies should undergo psychometric and polygraphic testing prior to recruitment and during their employment. In addition, we recommend that staff of all security agencies should be made to disclose their assets and liabilities on a biennial basis. If necessary, appropriate legislation should be enacted to achieve these objectives.

(26) CCTV Equipment for Car Parks of Prisons

12.85. Bearing in mind that we received evidence that the prisons ought to be considered part of the national security framework of the country, we recommend that, if not already installed, CCTV equipment be placed at the car parks of all prisons to ensure exterior surveillance of those facilities.

(27) Development and Promulgation of a Disaster Preparedness Plan

12.86. One of the deficiencies in 1990 was the absence of a Disaster Preparedness Plan. The General Hospital suffered because of this lacuna in arrangements for crises. We recommend that such a Plan covering hospitals and other medical facilities be developed and promulgated.

(28) Architectural Plans and Drawings of Certain Buildings

12.87. The architectural plans and drawings of certain buildings considered vulnerable, such as Parliament, President’s House, Police and Defence Force Headquarters, Prime Minister’s residence and office, should be copied and kept in a secure and secret place and copies should reside at the Headquarters of the Defence Force and the Police Service. In 1990 there were no architectural drawings of the layout of Parliament to assist the Protective Services.

Fortunately, the Acting President was very familiar with the layout of Parliament by reason of his experience of Parliament as both Clerk and President of the Senate, and he was able to assist a soldier in hastily drawing a sketch of the layout of the Parliament.

(29) Transmitter Sites and Essential Services

12.88. Legislation should be enacted to make it mandatory that all transmitter sites and essential services have security on a 24/7 basis.


12.89. We do not think that we are competent to make specific recommendations for the development of social and economic policies. These are matters of a political nature and best articulated by political parties. However, the social and economic conditions of 1990 did create a climate of dissatisfaction, discontent and disaffection among large sections of the population. The resultant societal disequilibrium may have led Imam Abu Bakr to believe that he would receive popular support for his adventure. Societal instability can express itself in internal threats to democratic governance.

12.90. We took note of the views of witnesses, during the public hearings, that –

• some parts of Trinidad and Tobago, at the time of writing this report, are still without running water and electricity. However, it became clear that these deficiencies applied mainly to areas where there are illegal squatting communities.

• the matter of race is still an issue in the Republic.

(30) Regional and International Cooperation

12.91. We recommend that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago take urgent steps to accede to the Treaty establishing the Regional Security System (RSS). The collaboration between the security and law enforcement agencies for the 2007 Cricket World Cup shows that the capability exists within the Commonwealth Caribbean to design and execute successful anti-crime strategies and operations.

12.92. Having regard to evidence from more than one person that Venezuela is the primary source of guns entering Trinidad and Tobago, the Commission recommends that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago seeks to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Venezuela for closer co-operation in the fight against illegal firearms and drugs.

(31) Regulation of Sea Craft Leaving and Entering the Country

12.93. Such legislation as currently exists should be revisited with a view to modernising the same and providing a comprehensive regime for the monitoring and recording of all sea craft entering or leaving the territorial waters of Trinidad and Tobago. Information so garnered or obtained should be readily accessible to all agencies involved with national security.


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