T&T | Uncoverig a Potential Coup – SSA Audit Reveals Shocking Security Breach

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, July 9, 2024 – A startling audit of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) has unveiled what appears to be a coordinated attempt to undermine Trinidad and Tobago’s national security and potentially overthrow the government of that country.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s recent revelation to parliament about the audit’s findings has sent shockwaves through the nation, exposing a web of infiltration, weapons stockpiling, and covert operations within one of the country’s key intelligence agencies.

Trinidadian Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley Reveals Shocking Plot by State Security Agency to Overthrow his Government

At the center of this unfolding crisis is Acting Major Roger Best, the former director of the SSA and a leader in the Jerusalem Bride Church. Under Best’s leadership, the SSA’s arsenal grew alarmingly, with firearms increasing from 24 pistols/revolvers in 2016 to 103 weapons of various types and calibers, including military-grade armaments, by 2022.

Even more concerning, ammunition purchases skyrocketed from 8,000 rounds in 2017 to a staggering 100,000 rounds by 2022.

The gravity of the situation is further underscored by the revelation that 70,000 rounds of ammunition are currently unaccounted for. National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds described this as “a significant and grave threat to citizens, visitors, and national security.”

The audit revealed a disturbing connection between the SSA’s leadership and the Jerusalem Bride Church. The agency had been surreptitiously hiring members of what Prime Minister Rowley referred to as a “cult” that was “arming itself while preaching a doctrine for trained military and paramilitary personnel with a religious calling to be the most suitable persons to replace the country’s political leadership.”

The potential for violence is evident in the procurement of high-grade military bolt-action sniper rifles, complete with çağdaş silencers and accessories, initiated by Best. This acquisition occurred before the SSA was legally permitted to possess firearms, raising serious questions about the intent behind these purchases.

Crucial Role of Brig-General Anthony Phillips-Spencer

Retired Brig Gen Anthony Phillips-Spence, former TT Ambassador to the Uited States

The exposure of this alleged plot can be largely attributed to the actions of Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer. On March 2, 2024, President Christine Kangaloo appointed Phillips-Spencer as the acting director of the SSA. Prior to this, he had been serving as Trinidad and Tobago’s ambassador to Washington, DC.

Between March 4 and April 21, 2024, Phillips-Spencer conducted an extensive internal review and audit of the SSA, which was instrumental in uncovering the alarming activities within the agency. Based on his findings, Phillips-Spencer took swift action:

  1. On March 12, he suspended Joanne Bartholomew-Daniel, the SSA’s deputy director of intelligence, along with 11 other employees, all members of the Jerusalem Bride Church.
  2. He terminated a 12-member tactical response team, a highly-trained operational unit comprising former commandos.
  3. His review contributed significantly to the ongoing police investigations, including the case against Acting Major Roger Best.

The implications of this alleged plot extend beyond the SSA, with investigations now encompassing the police force and other areas of government. Best was fired from his post on May 19, 2024, after being arrested on suspicion of transferring four high-powered automatic guns to SSA employees.

This followed Prime Minister Rowley’s return from a trip to Washington, DC, where he met with the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other top US intelligence officials.

The Jerusalem Bride Church Connection

The involvement of the Jerusalem Bride Church adds another layer of complexity to the situation. Best, a pastor, had been a director of the church in Malabar, Arima, since 2008. The church was run by charismatic leader Pastor Ian Albert Ezekiel Brown, his wife Sandra Brown, and their sons.

On May 21, 2024, Brown, a former Special Reserve Police officer, along with the SSA’s former security supervisor, Susan Portell-Griffith, and Sgt Sherwin Waldron, who was attached to the now-defunct Special Operations Response Team (SORT), appeared before Master Shabaana Shah on gun-related charges. They were charged with separate offences of misbehaviour in public office related to the alleged transfer and possession of four prohibited firearms and ammunition.

Ongoing Investigations

As multiple investigations unfold, including a probe into the November 11, 2023 murder of Andy Daniel, the estranged husband of the SSA’s former deputy director of intelligence, Joanne Bartholomew-Daniel, the full extent of this potential coup attempt is yet to be revealed. The police are also investigating the whereabouts and use of the 70,000 rounds of unaccounted ammunition, as well as certain motor vehicles currently and previously assigned to the agency.

Prime Minister Rowley has emphasized that many lines of criminal investigations and various audits are underway, stating, “We must allow these to proceed to conclusion.” He assured that the government’s disclosure to Parliament does not compromise any ongoing investigation.

This unfolding situation serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities within national security apparatus and the ongoing threat to democratic governance in Trinidad and Tobago. As the nation grapples with these revelations, the role of vigilant leadership and thorough auditing processes in safeguarding national security has never been more apparent.(WiredJA)