(Trinidad Guardian) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last night confirmed criminals were using illegal cellphones in the nation’s prisons to co-ordinate murders and other criminal acts across the country. Persad-Bissessar said that was confirmed by the National Security Council after investigations were conducted into the claim, which was first raised by former national security minister Martin Joseph in the Senate almost five years ago.
Persad-Bissessar was speaking at the UNC’s Monday Night Forum in Gasparillo. She said the People’s Partnership Government was strong and solid as a rock. She said as the Government neared its third anniversary she was not about to engage in old talk. The time for talk was over and it was now time for action, she added. Persad Bissessar told party faithfuls about “a new” crime-fighting initiative to be taken against the illegal use of cellphones by criminals in jail to commit further crime.
“You would think when the courts put the criminals behind bars that would end the problem. But far from it,” she said. She recalled a conversation she had with a man who told her “he got a phone call and after ten minutes into the conversation he realised he was speaking with a man who was in Golden Grove Prison on a gun-related charge, who was telling him to send him a $20 phone card.”
Persad-Bissessar said it was not the first time she heard such claims so the matter was researched. She said the criminals were “continuing to run their organisations from inside the jail by obstructing police investigations and “calling shots on witnesses, as the criminals like to say. So we researched the problem and found a solution and are taking action.”
She added: “As head of the National Security Council I can tell you, here tonight, that illegal cellphones in prisons are among one of the largest public-safety risks facing us today and I, as Prime Minister, will put them out of business. The cellphone business in prisons will end. ” Persad-Bissessar said the National Security Council “has moved to implement mobile phone signal jammers. This technology can find phones and block calls as well as text messages from unapproved numbers within our prisons. We will cut them off.”
She said: “The time for talk is over and that includes the criminals behind bars. “