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Tourist police for Tobago

By SEAN DOUGLAS Saturday, May 10 2014

THE idea of tourist police is one of a raft of measures for Tobago agreed at a recent meeting of Tobago tourism stakeholders and the National Operations Centre (NOC) of the Ministry of National Security, said a Ministry statement dated last Thursday.

The idea had been floated last July by Tobago House of Assembly (THA) deputy head, Tracey Davidson-Celestine. Tourist police are a well-established institution in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea, according to a quick search of the Internet.

At the April 23 meeting in the Sister Isle NOC head, Garvin Heeralal, proposed several measures, starting with a follow-up meeting inclusive of site visits to identify relevant issues, mechanisms to address them, and expertise resident in Tobago.

“A security unit specific to Tourism should be set up in Tobago, to operate on a 24/7 basis, that will provide surveillance and address issues of security and public safety with regards to hotels, estates and foreign guests,” said the Ministry statement.

The NOC should set up an arm in Tobago to raise awareness of challenges.

“Currently, 187 CCTV cameras are installed throughout Tobago, and it was proposed that these be fed into the NOC. “An evaluation would be made if additional cameras need to be added to the network.

It was suggested, to optimise national coverage, that existing private surveillance systems be integrated into the national system.”

The statement urged Community Comfort Patrols using private security staff to patrol estates act as first responders.

The Ministry advocated something called “Safe City Operations” which utilises technology and intelligence-gathering to create quick responses and high visibility by the law enforcement authorities.

“The Minister of National Security had advised for consideration some time ago, the Tourism Sector Security Initiative (TSSI),” related the statement.

“ The key points of this initiative were discussed and an invitation made to have further exploratory discussions as this new proposal would deliver and address matters of Security within the Tourism sector for both Trinidad and Tobago, and may very well utilise the Tobago situation as a pilot project.

“It was agreed that increasing need for the safety and security of both Trinidad and Tobago will not only benefit the Tourism Sector, but all citizens of the country.”

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