The Government will spend $6 million on the 14 boats known as interceptors for the TT Coast Guard, Minister Stuart Young told the post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on Thursday.
The minister says they will help to protect the country's maritime borders, saying the aim is to have them up and running in the "shortest possible time."
He told the news conference that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley recently visited the Coast Guard headquarters and was told that out of 25 interceptors, not many were working.
He said interceptors will be strategically placed along T&T for the protection of the borders on the basis of intelligence reports.
In light of a recent video of illegal migrants scrambling ashore at Erin, he also promised a more intelligence-led approach to policing illegal immigration and human trafficking. Promising a multi-faceted approach including the use of radar, he said, “We are tackling it. We know the issues.”
Young rejected an Opposition councillor’s call for a refugee camp to be set up in South Trinidad, saying this is unnecessary as legal means exist for people to enter TT. Otherwise, he admitted the challenge in tackling homicides.
Asked about the softer side of policing, Young said his ministry’s Citizen Security Programme is now under review, but said his ministry still has some mentoring programmes.
The National Crime Prevention Programme, initiated by former national security minister Edmund Dillon, is now under the wing of ministry Parliamentary Secretary Glenda Jennings-Smith, he added.
Told more must be done for youngsters such as football leagues, Young warned of a duplication of efforts and said initiatives now exist such as MILAT, police youth clubs and cadets. Hailing community-based initiatives, he invited all to attend the Darryl Rajpaul football contest this weekend.
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