Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Trinidad and Tobago

In June, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago approved the extradition of two Guyanese and one Trinidadian accused of plotting to blow up jet fuel tanks and a fuel pipeline at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. In a separate matter, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr of Jamaat al-Muslimeen (JAM) became the first person prosecuted under the 2005 Antiterrorism Act after delivering an allegedly seditious sermon in late 2005. Bakr challenged the validity of the Act, but a high court judge dismissed the constitutional motion. The JAM leader has filed an appeal challenging the judge's ruling. The special prosecutor for the State desired to sever the terrorism indictment so that the other charges could proceed in the interim. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions determined that the best chance for conviction was if all three charges were tried together.

In July, Trinidad and Tobago enacted the Immigration (Advance Passenger Information) Act, 2008. Under this Act, regional and international aircraft and vessels must submit Advance Passenger Information prior to arrival in and upon departure from Trinidad and Tobago. The Act makes permanent the Advance Passenger Information System measures utilized in Trinidad and Tobago and other West Indies host nations during the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The system utilizes a number of watch lists, including INTERPOL's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database to check every passenger arriving in Trinidad and Tobago or traveling through by air or by sea. Furthermore, the government established the Trinidad and Tobago Immigration Document Examination Laboratory at Port of Spain's Piarco International Airport. The laboratory's primary aim is to counter the fraudulent use of travel and identity documents by utilizing technical equipment and trained experts. The United States continued to support Trinidad and Tobago's counterterrorism efforts by engaging in bomb detection training and providing equipment. For its part, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago trained 16 additional tactical and bomb-sniffing dogs through its canine academy.

Trinidad and Tobago is the United States' largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and plays an important role in Caribbean energy security. Recognizing this, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began engaging Trinidad and Tobago, under the umbrella of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States, to improve protection of infrastructure critical to LNG exports. Following bilateral preparatory meetings in 2007, a team of USG experts carried out a vulnerability assessment in January 2008 and prepared a report with recommendations to improve and prioritize critical infrastructure protection efforts.


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