Trinidad police detain more suspects in alleged carnival “terror threat”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — The Trinidad and Tobago police are informing that they have so far detained 13 people as investigations continue into the alleged terrorist plot to destabilise the Carnival celebrations that ended hereon Tuesdaynight.

“No one has been released and the number is growing and there should be 13 persons detained,” Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams told reporters flanked by National Security Minister Retired Brigadier Edmund Dillon and members of the other arms of the security agencies here.

Williams, who along with the other officials walked the parade route of the Carnival street jump upon Tuesday, said several properties had also been searched ever since the authorities disclosed the alleged plot last Thursday.

The family of one of the men detained has since sent a letter to Williams demanding his release.

Last week, the Canadian, United States and British authorities issued statements warning their nationals to be wary of the terrorist threat.

The British government said that “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Trinidad and Tobago”.

The US Department of State's Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 has named Trinidad and Tobago the country with the highest per capita rate of ISIS recruitment in the Western Hemisphere. According to the report, more than 70 nationals are believed to be fighting with ISIS in Syria.

Asked by reporters about the overall efforts of the security forces to maintain security over the Carnival season, Williams said “Trinidad and Tobago has had a combined effort with police, Defence Force and intelligence agencies working together to address the challenges that are confronting us today and into the future.

“We are working as a team to address all the issues in the context of crime and likely incidents of crime.”

Dillon commended law enforcement officers for their efforts in ensuring the revellers enjoyed a mostly safe Carnival season.

“People are enjoying the activities and doing it in a peaceful manner. The law enforcement and members of Defence Force can't do it by themselves and what we have, we've seen a good deal of collaboration by the citizens and foreigners and I believe together we can make it through this evening and enjoy a safe and secure Carnival celebrations,” he said.

At least four people were killed in separate incidents during the celebrations, but the authorities said they were not linked to the terror threat.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar has called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to address the nation on the threat saying as head of the National Security Council, he should have provided the population “with some assurance that the Government had a plan to deal with any plot to cause mayhem and terrorize citizens and visitors during this time”.

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