File photo: A Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard vessel.
TO strengthen the patrolling of the nation’s borders, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) was given $11.2 million in the 2021/2022 budget allocation to improve its facilities.
For fiscal year 2022/2023 the National Security Ministry was allocated $5.798 billion, $134 million more than the 2021/2022 allocation of $5.664 billion.
According to the Public Service Investment Programme (PSIP) documents, the TTCG sought the funds to improve its infrastructure at its various bases and to maintain its naval assets to improve maritime operations.
Of the $11.2 million, $5.2 million was set aside to upgrade utilities which include its electrical, potable water and wastewater treatment system, as well as air conditioning at Staubles Bay. Some of the money was allocated for preliminary designs for a facility at the Heliport, Chaguaramas, maintenance of naval vessels and for two standby generators to improve the electrical distribution at Staubles Bay.
In September last year, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds met with technical advisers and members of the protective services to assess the efficacy of TT’s border security measures.
At the meeting, Hinds is reported to have said: “I have only outlined some of the issues that are affecting us as a country, of which border security is just one, but this issue is one that happens to be a high-priority issue for the government of TT and specifically, for the Ministry of National Security.”
In May, Hinds signed an MOU to enter stage five of the European Commission’s Cocaine Route Programme Seaport Co-operation (SEACOP) project. This phase will focus on reinforcing the effectiveness of maritime intelligence and maritime/riverine control networks. It will also strengthen the Coast Guard’s ability to integrate that knowledge to deal with maritime threats and transatlantic illicit trafficking routes.