Hinds says bail too easily accessible, especially to foreign nationals

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Hinds says bail too easily accessible, especially to foreign nationals

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds says all sectors of the country need to work together to combat the crime scourge that is plaguing the country.

He made the comment on Tuesday while speaking at the opening day of the Human Impacts of Autonomous Weapons Systems conference at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, as he addressed the bail being granted to foreign nationals.

Hinds said he was disappointed with how “easily accessible bail” was granted to suspects involved in the trafficking of synthetic drugs, following the most recent discovery of a methamphetamine lab at The Residences, San Fernando, in early August.

The 24-year-old Chinese suspect Wong Fei had been granted $100,000 bail by Senior Magistrate Armina Deonarinesingh in the matter.

Hinds said officers who locate and charge suspects are discouraged when such attainable bail for crimes of such magnitude are granted by the courts, especially to foreign nationals engaged in narcotic trafficking who may then have the resources to flee the country immediately after posting their bail.

The minister referenced a case in which three Chinese nationals were held with over $8 million worth of ketamine and a quantity of cash on January 26, 2022, in Trincity, and the arrest of another the Chinese national in the more recent incident at The Residences.

“… As you raised it, the methamphetamines production unit, and prior to that, last year, the police busted a ketamine manufacturing and distribution operation in Trincity—arrested and charged three non-nationals of Trinidad and Tobago who were granted bail by the court and from information available to me, they (the Chinese nationals) have since fled the country.

“The methamphetamine laboratory operator, one non-national, was arrested and much to my surprise and much to the demoralisation of the police officers involved, as they reported it to me, the man, who was given very, very easily accessible bail and God knows if he may have left the country as well.

“So, as we battle with this question of crime, it is becoming more and more clear to me, and I hope to you, that the focus on dealing with crime is primarily that of the police service in accordance with the Police Service Act but it is not limited to the police service.”