A team of almost 50 high-powered officials led by THA Chief Secretary Orville London and National Security Minister John Sandy met for four hours to talk security in Tobago.
Following the meeting at the Mount Irvine Bay Hotel in west Tobago Sandy told reporters that the 21st century policing programme implemented in Diego Martin will be introduced in Tobago by October. He explained that this will result in the standardisation of vehicles and firearms as well as a change in uniform which was presently being redesigned to take into consideration the climate in Trinidad and Tobago.
The National Security Minister said the new programme will have police in the communities partnering with residents to ensure a level of security, adding that his information from the Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs was that the strength of the police in Tobago was sufficient and all that was needed was to determine how the officers were utilised.
Sandy said because of the different culture in Tobago, meetings will be held with the various stakeholders to come up with a plan to take care of the security of residents and local and international visitors. He also disclosed that the Mentorship Programme being operated by his ministry will be introduced in Tobago in two weeks time.
He said security on the Scarborough Port will be upgraded and thanked the THA Chief Secretary for the professional manner in which he conducted the meeting.
He said the Immigration Division was being strengthened and soon officers will be out in the field rounding up illegal immigrants who deprive legal residents of Tobago of jobs.
London agreed with Sandy that the meeting was a productive one and the first held since October 2010.He disclosed that the Assembly received a recommitment on two critical issues, the Assembly Police Force Bill and the Marine Sports Bill, which will be taken to Cabinet shortly and a decision taken on the way forward.
The Tobago Chief Secretary said priority will be given to the construction of a temporary prison on the Hope Estate in east Tobago while a permanent structure was being done over the next two to three years. He said the Assembly made a commitment to provide land for the construction of a fire service headquarters for Tobago and a fire station in southwest Tobago. He added that the joint task force of police and army officers will be re-established, making the Defence Force more effective.
Tobago Development Minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin disclosed that legislation would soon be introduced to make domestic violence a notifiable offence. She also disclosed that from September fisherfolk operating in Tobago will be provided with smart phones and GPS for their safety.
Collin Partap who attended his first official meeting in his new capacity of Minister in the Ministry of National Security appealed to the more than1,000 applicants for new passports at the Tobago office to collect them as soon as possible. He will return to Tobago within two weeks to visit the prison facilities on the island.