1,793 deportees back from US

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 07:00

Over the last 10 years, some 1,793 Trinidad and Tobago nationals were deported from the United States back to T&T, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon confirmed yesterday.

Dillon gave the figure in Parliament while replying to queries from Opposition Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh on the issue.

Gopeesingh had sought the deportee levels from 2007 to 2016.

According to Dillon’s figures, the highest level of nationals deported from the US over the ten-year period was in 2008, when 325 were sent back.

The lowest figure was 2015 when 77 returned.

Dillon listed the following deportee levels.

• 2007 - 260

• 2008 - 325

• 2009 - 264

• 2010 - 227

• 2011 - 157

• 2012 - 148

• 2013 - 125

• 2014 - 114

• 2015 - 77

• 2016 - 96

Dillon said returnees are placed in different categories according to the reasons/crimes they were deported.

Police and Special Branch follow up cases accordingly, he said.

The most serious category of deportees are those concerning murder and terrorist activities, who are monitored on return by TT intelligence forces and police, he added.

On another query, Dillon said acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is now actively considering use of non-lethal weapons for police. Dillon had been asked by Opposition MP Dr Lackram Bodoe if he was satisfied with the recent reported shooting of a mentally ill patient within the precincts of Point Fortin hospital.

Dillon couldn’t say if he was satisfied, since he said the matter is under police probe and he didn’t have the facts.

He also said over 2015 and 2016, there had been an approximately 350 per cent increase in interdiction exercises by the T&T Defence Force.

This was due to seizure of over $18m worth of drugs in 2015 and $65m worth in 2016.

Listing system improvements responsible for this, he noted six new Defence Force vessels plus heightened aerial and radar surveillance denying smugglers freedom of action.

Coastal land patrols had also been increased, including in Los Iros, Cedros and similar areas.

Dillon also cited strengthened collaboration with foreign agencies and authorities, including the US, Venezuela and the UK.

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Gail Alexander)