Thursday 23 January, 2020

High-powered weapons seized at Port of Spain port

A series of high-powered weapons were reportedly seized at the Port of Spain port on Monday.

Photos shared via social media showed the high-powered weapons amidst canned goods and other items, which were said to have been stored in a barrel.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith confirmed that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is aware of the incident, which is currently being investigated.

This is a developing story; more as this is updated.

A meeting of the Joint Select Committee on the prevalence of illegal firearms in Trinidad and Tobago showed that although scanners at the Port of Spain port were active since October 2018, no illegal firearms had been found up to February 2019.

Queries were raised into the detection of illegal items at the Port of Port of Spain, however Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Vidyah Marcial, said there were no findings of narcotics or weapons since scans began in October 2018.

However Paul Richards, JSC Vice-Chairman, asked whether the fact that both scanners, both fixed and mobile, detected no hits did not raise a red flag. 

Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Vidyah Marcial, said however that an upgrade to the system was pending, along with additional training for staff.

The JSC noted in 2017 that 1,064 firearms and 18,000 rounds of ammunition were seized.

In 2018, 16,308 rounds of ammunition and 988 illegal firearms were seized.

According to an OSAC report, despite these seizures, 80 percent of murders in Trinidad and Tobago involved firearms, highlighting the problem of illegally imported weapons and firearms.

JSC member Nigel De Freitas said the issue of the importation of illegal firearms requires urgent and immediate attention. 

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