March 7, 2023 | By Colin O. Jarrett |
The police authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have ordered an investigation into the allegations that senior government officials were involved in human trafficking.
The country’s Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher announced March 1 that following a meeting with the Director of Counter-Trafficking Unit, she appointed a special team of officers to carry out the probe. “These allegations of human trafficking are serious and will not be taken lightly”, the female top-cop said. Commissioner Christopher gave the assurance that the matter would be vigorously pursued and thoroughly investigated.
The investigations follows allegations leveled by the ruling People’s National Movement, PNM, denials and counter-accusations from the opposition United National Congress UNC and public discussion stemming from a United States’ July 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report which stated that the twin-island Republic remains on the Tier 2 Watchlist partly because it did not take action against “senior government officials alleged in 2020 to be involved in human trafficking”.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he had investigated and found that the officials mentioned in the report were not in the PNM. Still, the UNC Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said it was the PNM officials who were involved.
Last week, US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Candace Bond, informed that “senior Government officials” referred to in the Trafficking in Person report, are employees on the Government’s payroll who are accountable to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, she said, perpetrators could sit on either the Opposition or Government bench in Parliament.