severed by vandals

CUT: Some of the TSTT (Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago) cables that were severed by vandals in the Toco area early yesterday morning.

DOZENS of residents of Cumana, Sans Souci and L’Anse Noire in Toco were left without mobil phone and Internet services after vandals severed dozens of overhead TSTT (Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago) cables early yesterday morning.

At around 3 a.m. patrolling police officers discovered the cut cables hidden at several points along Paria Main Road.

PCs Singh and Glasglow noticed the first quantity of TSTT cables in the vicinity of LP#976, located about a minute from the Toco District Health Centre.

As the officers continued searching the bushes, they found more severed TSTT cables hidden roadside.

A resident with a van from the area assisted the police officers to transport the cables to the Toco Police Station.

Crime Scene Investigators were contacted and PC Singh is continuing investigations.

Local government councillor for Valencia/ Toco, Martin Rondon, told the Express that the vandalism had started weeks ago in the area.

“Last night was a big haul but they (vandals) did not get time to pick up the cables. Maybe they saw the lights of the police vehicles and they left. At this time, residents of Hamburg Road, Toco Main Road and Paria Main Road to Matelot do not have Internet and cell service, or experiencing problems with these. We found that children had to go by their neighbours on the other side of the road to do their online classes.”

He said the perpetrators have been targeting the Paria Main Road and Toco Main Road because those areas are lonely.

And the local government representative said the vandals are stealing the cables and putting the residents out of communication, as he complimented the Toco, Matura and Matelot police for their vigilance on the matter.

Rondon added they struck in December, and cables were cut between Cumana and L’Anse Noire and the Toco Police Station and the Toco Anglican School were affected by the outage.

TSTT had since restored these services, said Rondon.

“This vandalism is just a terrible situation, because our residents, especially our children, are now suffering for lack of communication. I am appealing to

anyone with information on this to take it to the police. If you see something, say something”, said Rondon.

The Express contacted TSTT’s communications manager Janelle David and the following statement was issued on the matter.

“In recent times, there has been an unfortunate increase in cable cuts and network sabotage in several rural areas.

“TSTT strongly condemns these acts of vandalism and notes that during a time when people are heavily reliant on connectivity for work and school, these actions are a tremendous disservice to affected communities.

“With respect to the Toco area, TSTT is working to migrate impacted customers to an alternate connectivity solution. The company has made headway with transferring customers to its wireless network and will continue this exercise to ensure that all impacted customers regain service.

“TSTT remains committed to seeking the best interest of the people and communities it serves and reminds perpetrators that when caught, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Under Section 69 (1) of the Telecommunications Act, ‘a person who maliciously damages, removes, or destroys facility works or other installation of a public network or a public telecommunications service commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $250,000 and to imprisonment for five years’,” according to the TSTT statement.

TSTT encouraged members of the public to call 800-0688 to report instances of cable theft.

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