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Heerah unclear on reason for new post

Published: 
Sunday, July 12, 2015

Former head of the National Operations Centre (NOC), Commander Garvin Heerah, was not told why he was reassigned to the post of director general of the National Security Training Academy (NSTA).

The Sunday Guardian was informed that days before Heerah’s reassignment, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar met with National Security Minister Carl Alfonso to discuss appointing a new head of the NOC. By Thursday, Heerah was given the official reassignment of duties.

In a telephone interview with the Sunday Guardian, Heerah said he was “currently complying with those instructions” from Alfonso.

“I have advised the executive of the National Operations Centre to begin prepping for the handover of the NOC to the incoming,” Heerah said.

It was reported on Friday that the new head of the NOC is retired major and Grandmaster Sarwan Boodram.

“I have been so advised by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Security that I would have to proceed on my leave in order to assume my new appointment,” Heerah said.

Heerah has entitled leave but did not want to say how long he would be out before taking up his new post.

When contacted on the reasons behind Heerah’s reassignment, Alfonso said he was currently attending a wedding and could not talk at the time.

The Sunday Guardian has learned, however, that there were several factors working against Heerah including his friendship with the former national security minister Gary Griffith and his lack of information on the small militant training sects in various parts of the country.

Griffith, in a telephone interview, said as the main man behind the implementation of the NOC, he had intimate knowledge of how it should be handled.

Boodram, he said, was “undoubtedly one of the most qualified persons in this country in operational and tactical aspects” of law enforcement. He added that Boodram also trained him during his tenure in the army.

But even after lauding Boodram, Griffith said that the NOC was not the same as the now defunct Special Anti-crime Unit of T&T (Sautt) which Boodram headed.

Griffith said while he would not question Boodram’s appointment, he was unsure that he had the ability to deal with the operational aspect inherent in the NOC, since the NOC reported to the National Security Council, had to prepare briefings and dealt with the managerial and administrative aspects of law enforcement.

Boodram holds a Master of Science Degree in Security and Risk Management from the School of Criminology at the University of Leicester and also served as the corporate security adviser to Atlantic LNG, as a security consultant to the tourism and energy industries, and as a special adviser on national security infrastructure to the energy industries.

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