The boast by Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his security chief Martin Joseph that Trinidad and Tobago was secured by a 360-degree coastal surveillance radar was off by several degrees for at least three months.
That is how long the "coastal surveillance" radar station on the San Fernando Hill-one of ten dotting the nation's coastline-was out of service.
Manning and Joseph have often spoken about the 360-degree radar coverage being crucial in stopping the flood of illegal guns and drugs fuelling many of the violent crimes in the country.
The radar had helped Coast Guard and Organised Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau officers make several drug busts in the Gulf since it began operating in 2006.
Technicians spent the day yesterday working on the radar, which is capable of detecting and tracking boats as small as fishing pirogues, as well as being able to follow the target, provide real-time updates on its location, direction and speed.
The equipment was being tested yesterday evening after being removed and dismantled under the security of Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) officers. Workmen at the scene declined to speak with the Express.
And no one wanted to say how much of the Gulf of Paria-where intelligence officials believe much of the narcotics, guns, South American sex workers and contraband are smuggled into Trinidad-had been left without surveillance while the system was being fixed.
Southern Division police said they were aware the installation went down last October, since it had stopped rotating.
Mon Repos officers patrol the installation.
The radar installations were the State's best-kept secret until August 2006, when it was revealed in the Red House that Government had used the Vehicle and Maintenance Company of Trinidad and Tobago to buy the devices from Israel.
The Advanced Coastal Surveillance Radar (ACSR), built by Israel's Aircraft Industries Limited, cost more than $130 million.
The company has advertised the system as having the ability to prevent illegal immigration and drug smuggling, illegal fishing and terrorist activity.
It has the capability to detect submarine periscopes and airborne targets on a 24-hour, all-weather basis, from a command centre on a colour screen showing an outline of the country's coastline.
Payments for the equipment were made between 2002 and 2006.
In 2001, Prime Minister Manning visited Israel and met then prime minister Ariel Sharon to discuss security matters.
$130 million and the fockin thing not working. Just like everything else this mudder cont govt buy. The fockin blimp, the eye in the sky, the police vehicles, the focking boats.
Imagine niggas cyah even make ah decent purchase!
But what is worse, is that during the last election campaign and even at press conferences after election these fockers including the CoP (duncee fockin ass Trevor Paul, the party man) telling the population that is drugs responsible for the state of crime in the country and that the installed radar around the country will be able to monitor the illegal stuff coming in.
What a BIG fockin LIE!