Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat.

More game wardens are coming to deal with poachers and smugglers, Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries said.

His comment follows a call by the president of the T&T Assembly of Hunting Associations (TTAHA), Dr Reeza Mohammed for the widening of the pool for honourary game wardens to include law enforcement officers.

In an interview with Guardian Media, Rambarat said game wardens are appointed by the Public Service Commission.

He said there are currently around 16 and added that the Permanent Secretary in his ministry has been interfacing with the Commission to fill many vacancies including Game Wardens and Forest Officers.

Mohammed had said that poaching is a major concern for the TTAHA.

He said in 2018, the TTAHA sent a plan to the Ministry of Agriculture that proposes appointing members of the Defense Force as Honorary Game Wardens, adding that this would save the state money, increase the manpower to deal with smuggling and maximize the use of resources.

Mohammed said that because there are no restrictions pertaining to the sale of wild meat during the hunting season, some vendors attempt to sell wild meat that has been smuggled into T&T from South American countries such as Venezuela.

According to Dr Mohammed, under the proposal to incorporate the Defence Force, no additional funding will be required for the payment of salaries to the Defense Force officers since a provision is made for the payment of salaries in the annual budgetary allocation of the Defense Force. No additional patrol costs will be incurred for vehicles and fuel since these physical requirements are already in place annually.