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PM: RSS helps foil hit on drug baron

PM: RSS helps foil hit on drug baron

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This country’s police saved the life of a noted drug baron a couple months ago, this country’s Prime Minister has said.{{more}}

Speaking at the brief handing over ceremony of keys at the new prison facility, currently under construction at Belle Isle, he said that local police, in collaboration with intelligence from the Regional Security Systems (RSS), was able to foil a plan to have the local drug baron murdered.

Dr Gonsalves said that while some were of the opinion that the hit man should have been allowed to carry out his job before being intercepted, such actions just couldn’t be allowed; that is, allowing someone to come into this country to murder someone, no matter how undesirable the targeted person is.

He said this, along with the interception of huge amounts of drugs, like the 600 or so pounds of cocaine intercepted recently, is part of the continued close cooperation that this country has with the RSS.

He again stated the intentions of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to set up two or three radar sites in St Vincent and the Grenadines, which will enable the local law enforcers to better patrol the waters.

He said that the prison is just one of the projects in the whole National Security thrust of his government. He spoke of the plan to increase the numbers in the police force, including the setting up of more Rapid Response Unit (RRU or Black squad) teams. He also cited improvements in terms of personnel and equipment for the Coast Guard, and the rebuilding and refurbishing of several police stations.

However, turning his attention to the new prison, Dr Gonsalves said that while he is pleased that lawbreakers will be well locked up in the new prison at Belle Isle, he is hoping that young men would be rehabilitated there, and not become regulars.

Dr Gonsalves said that he hopes that the aesthetics of the compound, along with the many programmes that will be organized for the inmates, would help in this rehabilitation process.

Commenting on the importance of crime fighting, Dr Gonsalves said that the first responsibility of dealing with the young men must be that of the parents. He, however, said that crime fighting must be part of the community spirit.

Another key element of the Government’s move towards “narrowing the space of criminals”, according to Dr Gonsalves, was the amending of several laws, so as to have stiffer penalties for crimes. He said that after these moves were made, he is now hopeful that judges and magistrates will take a serious view on criminal activities, and not be soft when administering judgment.

“I don’t expect magistrates to just impose fines,” Dr Gonsalves said.

Phase one of the project includes the administration building, the generator utilities building, the minimum security cell block, the kitchen and dining building, the laundry/ entry control building and staff quarters. This phase has a cost of $11.7 million, while phase two is estimated to cost $8.2 million.

The second phase will include the condemned prisoner building, a classroom, craft and trade building, minimum security cell block, medical isolation building and some extended works.

When the minimum security phase is handed over by the end of the first quarter of next year, and minimum security prisoners are transferred from Her Majesty’s Prison in Kingstown to the facility at Belle Isle, the prison staff will have to be split, and more prison officers brought on board to man the two facilities.

Superintendent of the Prison, Eric Rodriguez, said that he is grateful and very thankful for the new facility, voicing that it is to the benefit of the country.

Charles Hammerson of the British based Cell Security Limited, the company that installed the security cells and locks in the new facility, commended the design concept of the facility.

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