(Trinidad Guardian) Surveillance on Venezuelans legal, illegal and criminal.
The TT Police Service (TTPS) is monitoring the connections between Venezuelan criminals who have been identified in T&T and the local gangs. And TTPS and other security agencies are also monitoring the movements of Venezuelans entering Trinidad & Tobago legally as well as illegally.
Acting National Security Minister Edmund Dillon confirmed this in Parliament yesterday when he was grilled by Opposition MPs Rodney Charles, Roodal Moonilal and Vidia Guyadeen-Gopeesingh on reports about illegal Venezuelans in Trinidad & Tobago and criminal links with local gangs.
“A number of monitoring and intelligence gathering exercises are taking place right now from the TTPS,” Dillon said, detailing activities.
Dillon, acting for an absent National Security Minister Stuart Young, was grilled about the situation following reports that 25 Venezuelan nationals were held for illegally entering T&T and claims that local gangs are being infiltrated by certain notorious Venezuelan drug cartels.
He said Immigration authorities were currently interviewing those who were held for entering Trinidad & Tobago illegally at various police stations across T&T.
“At the end of those interviews, once it’s confirmed they entered illegally, they’d then be charged and placed before the court. Pending that, what happens in the court will determine deportation,” Dillon said.
Asked if any of the 25 were linked to a notorious gang alleged to have infiltrated T&T borders, Dillon said, “The people apprehended are being interviewed by Immigration authorities. Until such time as the information comes from those interviews, I”ll not be able to answer that.”
On what the TTPS is doing to address the infiltration of local gangs by Venezuelans, Dillon added, “The question seems to have arisen from an article by Mark Bassant which in fact was based on a Master’s thesis done by an individual in 2015. Even so, that information is sort of dated.
“Notwithstanding that, the TTPS has put a number of measures in place to deal with illegals entering T&T from Venezuela and other places. They’ve established/strengthened the liaison with Interpol to deal with/identify criminals who are on Interpol’s database, entering Trinidad & Tobago.
“They’ve strengthened the liaison between local intelligence units, the Strategic Services Agency (SSA), Organised Crime and Intelligence unit and other local intel agencies to monitor the movements of Venezuelans, illegally and legally, into T&T.”
Asked if Venezuelans resident in T&T who are facilitating the infiltration have been identified and if they’ll be deported, Dillon said, “In matters such as these investigations are the order of the day, therefore a number of investigations are taking place.
“Until such time as those investigations bear the kind of fruit that’s required, then we move to a state of deportation. So a number of investigations are taking place regarding illegal Venezuelans in Trinidad & Tobago.”