People who are blinded in loyalty to their respective gang leaders and others in the community will be arrested should they move to block roads and protest.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made this clear to people who condone gang activities and seek to defend gang leaders and members in their respective communities. He spoke at a news conference yesterday.
“I would want to advise the public…those who put God past their thoughts this time around I will be waiting on them…no area should feel that they so big and bad…If they are in love with their gang leaders they will join them,” Griffith said.
“Nobody has the authority to block roads, no one had the authority to take the law into their own hands.
“Everything is intelligence driven and the operations will be based on that. It is not a case of us trying to deliberately intimidate, profile, or harass or target anyone on an individual based. We are looking at individuals who want to use their ‘troops’ to work above the law,” he added.
On Wednesday, Griffith along with officers from several units of the Police Service, including the Special Operations Team, Guard and Emergency Branch, Inter-Agency Task Force, the Canine Unit and the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit moved into the Dan Kelly, Laventille and Phase 5 Beetham Gardens areas.
The officers conducted several searches and detained 27 people, including several gang leaders during a 72-window period.
In the exercises, 30 warrants were executed on people for various offences and 105 tickets for driving under influence and speed. There were also 359 strategic stop and searches conducted.
Those gang leaders are said to be the ones responsible for plotting, collaborating and giving instructions to create mayhem within T&T, more specifically, Port-of-Spain.
One of the suspected gang leaders was recently released from prison and is believed to be linked to the sudden increase of gun crimes, including murders in Port-of-Spain.
Not venturing into specific names or people who have been detained, Griffith said it is unfair to the police for people who have serious cases pending to be given bail easily. He, however, suggested that he would be seeking to make recommendations.
“It is very difficult for the TTPS to do our job when we do all that is required through intelligence, getting information, arrest persons, have persons arrested with firearms and within a few hours or a day or so they are released based on the easy access of bail…it makes it very difficult for the police service,” Griffith said.
“An individual who has several serious cases pending and then bail is given to him and then maybe you start seeing an increase in homicides,” he added.
Griffith said he strongly believes that it is not by chance that there have been more assassination threats to himself in the last two months compared to how many Test matches won by the West Indies in the last ten years “and there is a reason for that because I am doing what is required.
“I intend to continue along that line and who vex loss.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Griffith announced a “red-code” based on the escalation of threat assessments and gang activities and homicides. He made it clear that it is in “no way a degree of intimidation or profiling…it is in defending the country…We are in a war…we have a nation to defend. This is about good vs evil, right vs wrong…all of us getting together to hit back at the criminal elements.”
Griffith said last year the homicide rate decreased by 18 to 22 per cent same period and added that in the Port-of-Spain Division there was 1 murder recorded last year compared to 11, same period this year.
At the end of February 2018, the murder toll stood at 97. Up to press time yesterday, the murder toll was at 71.
Also sitting in at the media conference were Deputy Commissioner of Police, Deodat Dulalchan and ACP Crime Jayson Forde. Police officers have again warned the public of minor disruptions due to increased anti-crime exercises and stop and search exercises.
- by Rhondor Dowlat. Photo by Abraham Diaz.