Trinidad Express / The Piarco International Airport had facial recognition software available but it was removed by the former administration, says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
The system could have been used to identify the men who pulled off a $5 million robbery in a secured area of the airport on Wednesday.
The criminal suspect stole more than $5 million, cash belonging to First Citizens Bank, that was destined to be taken on a Caribbean Airlines flight to Tobago.
Speaking with members of the media before going a Cabinet meeting on Thursday morning, Rowley was joined by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi and Minister Stuart Young to discuss the importance of the Anti-Gang Bill which was scuttled in the Parliament Wednesday night after members of the Opposition United National Congress, voted against it.
The Bill was defeated when 21 members voted for it, and 12 against. There was one abstention.
The Government needed the Opposition’s support since the Bill required a three-fifths majority to pass.
The Prime Minister said that there is a “scourge of gang activity” in the country and the failure of the Opposition to support the Anti-Gang legislation bill was shocking to them.
“We in Trinidad and Tobago have a scourge of gang activity in many, if not most of our communities. There are thousands of families where the quality of life is being severely impacted by illegal gang activity,” he said.
In speaking about the airport robbery, Rowley said that while in Parliament on Wednesday, they received information about the heist.
He said that there was facial recognition technology and called upon the Opposition to explain why this was removed.
“At Piarco Airport there was facial recognition technology, meaning as you come through the airport your face become part of the security of this country and is recorded and you can be identified by facial features. They shut that down and stripped it out. And of course the servers that we being used for the facial gathering were also taken to storage to rot. When you see it ask them what was the reason for that. It is inexplicable for a Government to do that especially a Government facing our terrorism type of problems that we have and of course our chronic crime problem,” he said.
Rowley said that under the Anti-Gang legislation, such a criminal activity would have been dealt with.