Griffith: $80M in ganja seized
By Clint Chan Tack Thursday, September 19 2013
AS the country debates whether or not to decriminalise marijuana, National Security Minister Gary Griffith yesterday highlighted the seizure of “over $80 million in marijuana by the Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau” over the last year as one of the successes of the security forces to win the war against crime in TT.
Declaring that Government will not employ any “hit and hope” strategies to win this war,
Griffith disclosed that certain elements of the now disbanded Special Anti-Crime Unit of TT (SAUTT) are continuing to play critical roles in Government’s efforts to bring crime under control.
Speaking in the Budget debate in the House of Representatives following his appointment on September 5, Griffith identified the seizure of narcotics and arms amongst the successes of law enforcement agencies over the last year as evidence that security initiatives are producing results.
After noting the $80 million marijuana seizure, Griffith said: “Police Service has seized 68 revolvers, 115 pistols, 19 shotguns, three submachine guns, nine rifles, 37 homemade shotguns, six traps guns. Over 250 firearms seized in one year.”
Saying national security policy or initiative simply created by other political parties will not be outrightly dismissed, Griffith stated there were good elements in SAUTT. Griffith said SAUTT’S K-9 unit is now under the ambit of the Police Service and will be used in the nation’s prisons “to weed out” illegal cell phones and other contraband and for security at the country’s airports.
Griffith said Government has also kept SAUTT’s Direct Action Task Force (DATS), an elite counter-terrorism unit, “in training and ready for action, if and when required,” under the TT Defence Force. “When national security alerts go up it will be the first line of defence,” he said. Similarly, Griffith said SAUTT’s air and crime scenes investigations units also remain operational.
He further indicated that SAUTT’s training facilities have been expanded to a National Security Training Academy which will permit all members of the security forces to receive specialised training. He reiterated Government’s plans to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), eight interceptors and a long range patrol vessel as key elements in the Maritime Security Wall initiative to secure the country’s maritime borders.
Stressing the importance of training, Griffith said the recent disturbances in the Beetham showed that members of the security forces needed to be trained in the employment of non-lethal types of force such as rubber bullets, water cannons and taser guns to handle such situations. He also said
Government will look at the establishment of an indoor shooting range for the police and a virtual simulation theatre to help members of the security forces deal with different situations.
Describing criminal gangs as “the enemy you can’t see,” Griffith said this underscored the importance of greater partnership between law enforcement agencies and the public in fighting crime.