NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young is appealing to people to avoid carrying large sums of money from the banks as they conduct their demonetisation exercise.
Noting that people were exposed to some measure of risk, he said he was asking them to be cautious.
Alvaro Ledo Nass
Young was responding yesterday to a question from UNC Senator Wade Mark on what measures were being implemented by law enforcement to ensure the safety of citizens conducting going to commercial banks to exchange their old paper-based $100 bill for new polymer notes
Young said all citizens carrying out this exercise needed to be very careful
«The banks are working with us, the banks have increased their private security, the police and Defence Force are also assisting with a security blanket,» he said
«Unfortunately, there will be some instances where people can be vulnerable, we are just asking them to be cautious. Do you really need to leave (the bank) with large amounts of money and tens of thousands of dollars?
«In any event the State security apparatus is out there. They have doubled up their efforts and they are working along with the private security supplied to the various banks,» he said
Mark unsuccessfully presented a motion to discuss as a definite matter of urgent public importance, the «sudden, arbitrary threat to citizens» caused by the demonetisation exercise, which he said had made people targets for the criminal element, disrupted their routines and placed commercial banks under «unprecedented pressure»
Vice-President Nigel De Freitas however was not satisfied this matter qualified for debate under this Standing Order
No Venezuelan gangs
In response to another question from Mark on Venezuelan gangs partnering with local gangs, Young said the Commissioner of Police had advised that there had been instances of Venezuelan nationals involving in violent crimes in Trinidad and Tobago
«While, there has not been substantial evidence to support the existence of Venezuelan gangs, their association with local gangs is possible»
Young said the Police Service would continue its intelligence efforts to identify any organised crime groups that can be classified as «gangs of any nationality operating in our jurisdiction», Young said
Young was also questioned on what measures were being implemented to ensure the safety and security of local yacht owners while in T&T territorial waters since the April 14, 2019 armed attack by Venezuelan assailants
He said after the unfortunate attacks by Spanish-speaking assailants, the T&T Coast Guard (TTCG) met with representatives from the Yacht Services Association of T&T (YSATT) on April 15 to discuss safety measures and to implement contingency plans
The TTCG reminded YSATT of its responsibility as mariners to ensure that all safety requirements are implemented and communication is maintained with the TTCG or North Post Radio (which monitors shipping traffic) in the event of any emergency
YSATT was also advised that yacht owners had a responsibility to file float plans which include details of the yacht’s planned trip, expected ports, arrival dates/times and important information leading to the vessel, should search-and-rescue activities become necessary
Young said daily patrols were being conducted within areas which are heavily populated by yachts
«Subsequent to the unfortunate incident at sea, four convoys consisting of 28 yachts were monitored and escorted into territorial waters to ensure that their transit was incident free.»
He said since April, there had been no other incidents because of the measures that had been put in place
Vice-President De Freitas was not satisfied that Mark’s motion qualified for debate