The Minister of National Security Senator the Honourable Gary Griffith wishes to state that on September 12, 2014 the CIA assessed that between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria were part of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
More than 15,000 foreign fighters, including 2,000 westerners, have gone to Syria. Fighters originate from more than 80 countries.
Minister Griffith believes that those cynics who feel that by not signing the UN Resolution and refusing to face the problem head on are showing a lack of political will by burying their heads in the sand.
He notes that this approach is not constructive and will not assist in alleviating the level of terror that exists both locally and internationally.
Minister Griffith is of the firm view that the signing of this anti-terrorist resolution is the avenue to prevent terrorism.
He emphasised that all law enforcement agencies of the Ministry of National Security are monitoring the travel patterns of suspected foreign fighters and are working assiduously seeking to verify their involvement with ISIS.
This, the National Security Minister notes would not have been possible if this country had refused to support the UN Resolution.
He adds that information on the Trinidad and Tobago nationals in Syria is also being provided, again as a result of this country’s anti-terrorist posture.
He also believes that the call on government by some detractors who want to govern this country to not sign the Resolution is a weak tactical strategy proposed.
Minister Griffith believes it is because of the political will of this government to be a signatory to this landmark UN Resolution that our intelligence agencies are now being apprised on our nationals who have ventured into Syria as foreign fighters.
He adds that these agencies are presently collaborating with international organisations to verify the number of Trinidad and Tobago nationals involved with ISIS.
The National Security Minister says he is appreciative of this country’s Intelligence agencies’ close working relationship with the 100 plus countries that signed the UN Resolution to work together to share information and to monitor such movement.
In underscoring the level of threat ISIS poses to the world and the need to collaborate against this organisation, Minister Griffith notes that ISIS is the richest terrorist organisation in the world whose financial depth spans ownership of oil fields and businesses worldwide.
He says because of ISIS’ wealth this organisation can afford to fund and support its deadly ideology and fundamentalism.
Referencing the Global Intelligence Grid (GIG) out of the US, Minister Griffith notes that ISIS can afford to bait young unsuspecting men and women who are mainly their targets to do its bidding, as they are presently and unfortunately naive enough to be lured for bread crumbs to lose their lives similar to what is happening here in Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister Griffith believes that the time has come for us to reject these unholy offers and wisen up and to discourage those who feel that if we do not put anti- terrorist mechanisms in place to prevent extremist activity, such as co-sponsoring the UN Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, our citizens will be safe.
In light of the existing global threat posed by ISIS, Minister Griffith is reiterating his support of the Prime Minister’s stance to sign the UN Resolution which he believes is justified as he states we are now beneficiaries of Intelligence-sharing with our global counterparts.
Minister of National Security
Senator the Honourable Gary Griffith