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Trinidad government launches “Operation Push Back” to fight crime; at least 70 homicides so far


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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 13, CMC – National Security Minister Stuart Young Wednesday announced plans for a major security operation here and warned nationals to be prepared for some level of inconvenience as the law enforcement authorities move to tackle various crimes including murder in Trinidad and Tobago.

Last year 516 people were killed and so far this year, at least 70 persons have been murdered.

Young, who confirmed that a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force had been shot by a stray bullet while on patrol in Betham Gardens on the outskirts of the capital where several people have been killed in recent days, said “Operation Push Back” would be undertaken within the confines of the law.

“I am not going to divulge the particulars at this time. Those are operational matters, I am sure at the appropriate time the Commissioner of Police (Gary Griffith) and others will address it,” he told a news conference.

Young said the planned operation should not be confused with a state of emergency (SOE) which he said “is a completely different concept in law.

“What it does it suspends your constitutional rights in an area of the country depending on where you want to declare a state of emergency. That is not happening on this occasion. What we are doing is working within the confines of the law and you are going to see a serious push by the men and women of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service with the support of other agencies as they push back and change the whole landscape on these criminal elements,” he said.

Young told reporters it was no longer acceptable for the law enforcement agencies to be reacting to what’s taking place in the country, adding “it is time that we dictate the pace and we go on the offensive and we do all that we can with all of the state’s resources to ensure that the criminal element is beaten into submission.

“So what I am coming here to tell you’ll is that very shortly there will be increased intelligence driven operations aimed at achieving what I have just described. Additionally, the Anti-Gang legislation specifically provides for these types of situations”.

Young said that the authorities would also be stepping up activities against white colour crime and that the police would soon be getting the support requested as a result.

“In my conversation with the Commissioner of Police and I don’t get into the details he is going to be tackling white collar crime the same way you see him leading the men and women pushing back at the other criminal elements,” Young added.

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