PORT OF SPAIN – Security agencies are monitoring the situation following receipt last Sunday of death threats on the life of President Anthony Carmona, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said yesterday.
The anonymous death threat was received at the Police Command Centre before noon last Sunday, at approximately 11 a.m., it was confirmed by police sources. The caller – reportedly male – claimed to be from the “army”, they added. The person threatened the life of the President and “all ah dem.” They also stated they were “waiting by the Savannah to offload shots for the President”.
The caller further threatened to “bomb” police stations.
In confirming the threat yesterday, Dillon said there was as yet no “credible evidence” on the matter, but said security agencies were continuing to monitor it as per procedure.
“And we continue to ensure the security of the head of state. The Defence Force and Special Branch have been informed accordingly – through the Police Commissioner and Chief of Defence Staff – and are taking the necessary action,” Dillon added.
Police, who have procedures to respond to all manner of threats, “moved appropriately” when the threat was received on Sunday, sources said.
Following that development, a senior Special Branch official met with the President for a half-hour meeting at his office just before noon yesterday, officials confirmed.
Contacted yesterday, the Office of the President confirmed that information had been received from the police about a threat being made on the President’s life very recently. The office also confirmed Carmona met with a “high ranking police officer” yesterday morning, but they could shed no light on that.
Since Carmona began serving as President in 2013, there has never been a threat of this nature – concerning a specific telephoned alert to police – on his life. However, when Carmona was a High Court judge there had been a death threat against him around 2011, when he had been dealing with a high profile case concerning a known Central gang leader. That person was killed last year. Carmona had been given security when the threat was received.
President’s House operations during Carmona’s tenure – which ends next year – have recently been the focus of scrutiny regarding expenditure issues.
Last year May, security agencies were also on high alert following social media “Isis” bomb scare threats regarding malls. A man was subsequently jailed for 21 days for one “hoax” call.
Under the Anti-Terrorism Act (section 21), it is an offence to knowingly communicate false information of an explosive or toxic device, or a weapon of mass destruction. This carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment, Government has said.