Saturday, March 15, 2014

SAUTT was not welcome in intelligence community: Report

The report of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup in Trinidad and Tobago states that the establishment of the Special Anti-Crime Unit, SAUTT, was not welcome.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar presented some of the findings Friday when she laid the entire report in parliament, including a volume marked by the commission as "confidential". 

She quoted from the report to show that SAUTT was an agency that duplicated the efforts of others within the protective services and intelligence community. 

Here is what the report says: "SUATT was not an organization that was welcomed by most arms of the security structure because it was seen to be doing things that other people were already doing and there was a perceived duplication of effort." 

It adds, "There continued to be the creation of agencies every time there seemed to be a political need to be seen to be doing something but without examining and rationalizing what you already had. Every time there was a need to do something, they created something without going to the Police Service”.

The report also says SAUTT saw itself as a separate entity and tended to develop apart from the Intelligence Community because it had a direct link to the Executive.

It also notes that the compensation package for its staff also caused disaffection among other players in the Intelligence community as did the fact that SUATT had the ability to hand pick personnel from other agencies.

The PM also read what the report says about a National Operations Centre, which did not exists in 1990: 

"We are of the opinion that such a Centre, as a focal point for all arms of the security and intelligence community, would greatly enhance the capability of the State to respond to emergencies. It would provide the ultimate communications platform among the various security agencies and be the agency to issue National Security Alerts when necessary.”

Persad-Bissessar took the opportunity to outline what the National Operations Centre, established by her government, is doing now.

"So what is needed to improve our law enforcement is to provide them with the training, tools, policies and capability to perform at optimum level, and also provide an Agency to ensure that there be greater collaboration and understanding between varying arms in our law enforcement agencies." she said.

"Hence the reason for the establishment of the National Operations Centre, upon which we can indeed note the success being derived from this Centre, and one which is required to ensure such information is shared between relevant agencies in real time, and greatly minimize a repeat of 27th July 1990 attempted coup.

"The report continued in relation to flaws with Intelligence, in that information and Intelligence from the different Units of the security Services were not centralized, so there could be proper processing, evaluation and dissemination, and that in 2009, the SIA as the principal Intelligence Agency, became more involved in providing Intelligence for tactical and direct operational responses, as opposed to formulating policy on strategic Intelligence.

"In other words, the findings of the Commission of Enquiry has stated that to better prepare our nation, it does not need a structure as a SUATT, but instead need a National Security Centre and that is what we have established.

"The Commission also noted the deficiencies of the absence of a central body to manage the crisis occasioned by the attempted coup, as there was no Central Emergency Plan. They stated that the case for a Crisis Management Centre was overwhelming.

"Again, thankfully, we have been very proactive, and our present polices are indeed in keeping with these recommendations.

"Again, this is evident through establishment of the National Operations Centre which is also responsible for such a Crisis Management and would provide such needs for a Crisis Management Centre and a more scientific approach toward the operations of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management.

"In addition to all these measures, just a few months ago, we instituted a structure for a National Security Alert State whereby the Alert State is colour coded and increases or decreases based on the level of threat.

"The Protective Services and the Defence Force were indeed the heroes during this period of July 1990, and had it not been for the fine efforts by the vast majority of the police officers, soldiers, sailors, fire officers and other arms of the services, the situation may have become totally out of control."


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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai