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T&T gov't outlines measures to deal with terrorism

Published On 11 May 2018

PORT OF SPAIN | JAMAICA OBSERVER | The Trinidad and Tobago government Friday said it had strengthened internal structures to treat with the subject of terrorism as it recognizes the global threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, speaking in Parliament, said that as a consequence, measures locally have been heightened to deter nationals from being enticed by ISIS ideology.

The United States has publicly expressed concerns about Trinidad and Tobago nationals joining ISIS and Dillon responding to an opposition question on the situation said that the Keith Rowley government has “strengthened internal structures to treat with the subject of terrorism”.

He said these structures include the Strategic Services Agency, the Special Branch of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, as well as the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance Unit.

Dillon told legislators that one the key initiatives of the government to dissuade nationals from participating in activities on behalf of ISIS is the launch of the National Counter Terrorism (NCTS) Strategy.

“The NCTS focusses on deterring persons from participating and supporting terrorism, enhancing national counter-terrorism operational capabilities and building national resilience in the event of a terrorist attack against Trinidad and Tobago," Dillon said, adding that it is governed by a strong legislative framework, respect for human rights and effective partnerships among other initiatives.

Dillon said that the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act and will significantly strengthen Trinidad and Tobago's ability to combat terrorism.

“The Bill contains comprehensive measures which include criminalization of travel for the purpose of committing terrorist acts and deeming persons as foreign terrorist fighters, as well as provisions to address risks posed to children, including recruiting and taking them into conflict zones.

“Also, The Strategic Services Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which …amended the Strategic Services Agency Act …to expand the remit of the Strategic Services Agency to include broader law enforcement coordination and intelligence functions.”

Dillon said that in an effort to bolster national capacity in the area of countering and preventing violent extremism, Trinidad and Tobago has also enhanced collaboration with its regional and international partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada on a number of crime reduction and social justice programmes.

He said Trinidad and Tobago also continues to work closely with the United Nations on these matters.  “These initiatives involve increased intelligence sharing between law enforcement/intelligence agencies, the provision of enhanced operational support,” he said, noting that the government has also partnered with key international agencies such as Hedayah, an International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), to deliver required training to national stakeholders in an effort to build national capacity on the issue of both preventing and countering radicalisation in Trinidad and Tobago.

Dillon said the government has also begun a process of deepening partnerships with key non-governmental, faith and community-based organizations to harness their extensive social networks, inherent dynamism, innovation and energies to counter the terrorist ideologies.

He said discussions have also been held with local Muslim groups and that “priority focus has also been given to strengthening programmes aimed at addressing perceived economic and social inequalities, employment creation and overall rehabilitation and reintegration of radicalized persons into society.

Article Link: Jamaica Observer

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