PORT OF SPAIN –– The issue of crime “ought not” to be politicized, says Minister of National Security Retired Major General Edmund Dillon as he responded to criticisms on the weekend by Opposition MP for San Juan/Barataria Dr Fuad Khan as the country’s murder toll reached 315, with ten murders being committed between Saturday and Sunday last.
“We cannot politicize crime; we ought not to politicize crime; and therefore we must take a methodological approach in dealing with issues of crime.
“That’s the approach that I am taking right now; dealing with the review of the architecture, seeing where the gaps are, and how we go forward,” Dillon said yesterday. He was responding to accusations made on Sunday by Dr Khan that the PNM administration had left the nation “unguarded” against criminals who, according to Khan, took “ample advantage” of the opportunity to commit murders with wanton abandon
Dillon was speaking with reporters yesterday during a short break in a marathon meeting of the heads of divisions of National Security at the ministry’s head office on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain. Chief of Defence Major General Kenrick Maharaj and Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams were among the “key players” who spent most of the day discussing the nation’s “national security architecture”.
Dillon and the heads of divisions met again at the ministry today, this time focusing on “operational matters”, he said, “to be informed to deal with the crime situation in the country at this point in time”. The minister said the main intent of yesterday’s meeting was to gather information “to inform our decisions as we go forward”.
Asked if the heads of divisions had given him any indication of the possible cause of the upsurge in murders, Dillon said this not only formed part of yesterday’s discussion but would also be on today’s agenda.
“This is part of the meeting . . . to get a sense of where we are, some of the reasons and how can we deal with the challenges and issues that confront us. So at this point in time, it’s a question of an understanding for me as minister of what the situation is like, and that will inform our decision as we go forward,” Dillon stated.
On the matter of our porous maritime borders, the minister noted that the Coast Guard’s recently acquired vessels would form part of an “integrated security approach” to monitor land, air and sea “to enforce a new kind of presence in our maritime waters”. Asked if offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) were discussed yesterday, Dillon said the need for OPVs would always form part of Trinidad and Tobago’s maritime security landscape because there were different types of vessels for “various tiers in the layered defence”.