Police are probing alleged exorbitant costs involved in the upgrade of CCTV cameras during 2011 to 2014 - and investigations are also being conducted into complaints that foreign “spiritualists” operating locally are fleecing some nationals, National Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday confirmed.
Young confirmed the probes during yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee meeting which met for the third day of deliberations on expenditure and other items in 2020 Budget documents.
Under Security Ministry expenditure items, UNC MP Roodal Moonilal had questioned Young about a settlement with TSTT on the issue of payment for CCTV cameras.
This was in connection with a claim TSTT had made which Cabinet didn’t agree with. Young said proposed final and full settlement was decided upon to the tune of $200 million and this was offered to TSTT.
Young said new tenders were sought and a new provider will replace the TSTT arrangement at a cheaper price.
But Moonilal expressed concern that TSTT would still own the CCTV fibre and it would be hard to phase TSTT out of the situation.
Young stressed that Government had rejected the “outrageous” sum sought by TSTT and the company wasn’t the only provider of internet fibre. He said TSTT was charging between $11,000 and $14,000 per camera and other providers were charging $3,000.
“I went to Cabinet and a new service provider was approved,” he added.
Moonilal said the TSTT camera upgrade was done under the Patrick Manning PNM administration. But Young heatedly said that was untrue. He said the camera upgrade was during the 2011-14 period “... and that’s where the exorbitant increased costs came into play and are currently the subject of a police investigation.”
But on another issue, Young thanked UNC MP Suruj Rambachan for informing his ministry and the Police Commissioner of a situation where people are allegedly being fleeced by foreign so-called “spiritualists.”
Rambachan, who spoke about the issue in the SFC, said people are coming into T&T and operating as spiritualists and are being facilitated by locals.
Rambachan said, “They’re ripping off people all over T&T. They’re fraudulent. There are full-page ads in the newspaper on what they’re doing. I’m wondering what processes are being employed at Immigration when they allow into T&T such people and without proper examination of what they’re about.”
Rambachan later told the T&T Guardian that people had come to his office and told him they were approached by such people on High Street, San Fernando and the persons had sought to fleece them by claiming there was something wrong in their lives and they (spiritualists) could help. He said the foreign persons came from both India and Africa and he’d written Young and the CoPon it.
After Rambachan spoke in the SFC, Young said Immigration officers will continue to do their duty and scrutinise situations and anyone caught flouting the law would be found and deported. He again acknowledged Rambachan’s letter to him and the CoP, adding, “We’re actively looking at it.”
UNC MP Rudy Indarsingh also revealed to Young that an infestation of rats and pigeons is causing leptospirosis cases at Remand Yard and Golden Grove prisons.
Young said it was a very serious circumstance that needs to be probed and has to be addressed, if so.