Intelligence sources as well as those in a certain religious sect have confirmed the local fighters have been leaving the country to head to Syria over the last few months.
Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, when contacted about this several weeks ago stated, “ I will neither confirm or deny this”.
On TV6’s Morning Edition yesterday, Griffith, however, said, “Trinidad and Tobago must never be seen or believe we are isolated in any way from global terrorism”.
Griffith said this was the reason the Government has been trying to introduce electronic fingerprint technology for those entering the country. “If you put fingerprints there we are following the trail of individuals based on a watch list worldwide,” he said.
Director of National Security Operations Centre (NOC), Garvin Heerah, who spoke to the Express yesterday, said, “That situation has engaged the attention of the intelligence agencies of Trinidad and Tobago. And at this point we are unable to give a figure as such, but it is something being worked on fervently”.
Heerah said because of the recent resolution that Trinidad and Tobago agreed to co-sponsor the UN Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters, he had to be very limited in the information he revealed.
“We are working hand in hand with our international partners,”said Heerah.
Intelligence, airport security sources and sources within a religious sect confirmed that many of the men and in some cases women and children have left using the route through Tobago, onward to England and then arriving in Turkey where the men cross the border, while women and children stay in Turkey.
The pattern of travel is a bit tricky, according to Heerah who said: “We are waiting further information. The reason for that is the disguised method of departure in that the departure out of Trinidad is not say through Piarco and then straight to a destination, it is staggered”.