Seven arrested in plot to assassinate T&T Prime Minister
Police confirm “number of arrests”
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – CMC – Trinidad and Tobago police yesterday confirmed that a “number of arrests “had been made as law enforcement officials continue their probe into an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and senior members of her coalition people’s partnership government.
Police public information officer sergeant Wayne Mystar, told a news conference that the investigations involved all the security forces on the island.
“We want to confirm that the protective services, they have unearthed a threat to national security,” he said, adding the “threat involves members of the government and a number of arrests have been made”.
Mystar did not specify how many people had been arrested, but media reports yesterday speculated that two former members of the army and a former senior police officer had been taken in for questioning.
Mystar said that “all arms of the protective services are collaborating to ensure the preservation of national security and remain on high alert”.
He said no further information would be given “at this time because this would compromise the investigations”.
But the main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has already dismissed the allegation of the plot, saying it hopes the government is not using the issue to extend the state of emergency (SOE) that has been in effect here since august 21.
Former junior national security minister Fitzgerald Hinds said that while the party would not dismiss the threat to kill any citizen lightly, “it is our hope that the security will deal with the matter and treat with it within the law.
“It is also our hope that by the time they arrest these people (they would) have gathered enough evidence to satisfy the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution Roger Garpard) …rather than act as wildly and foolishly as they did with regards to the anti-gang matter in the recent past” a reference to the number of people that were detained under the SOE and released for lack of evidence.
National security adviser Gary Griffith said it is likely that National Security Minister retired Brigadier John Sandy will issue a statement.
“I would not want to say more at this time, it will be revealed in due course, hopefully later today. I think it is the right of citizens to know the security of the state but for obvious reasons there are times it could be revealed.
“I think the time has come and I think we can refer to Mr. Sandy’s statement a few months ago when he was criticised when he said 1990 would have looked like a tea party. So I think it will all come to light”.
Sandy had defended the coalition people’s partnership government’s decision to impose the SOE telling Sandy told legislators that the government had no choice but to impose the measure and the accompanying five-hour curfew, which has since been lifted, because the authorities had to act to prevent a “bloodbath” that would have made 1990 a “Christmas tea party”.