(Trinidad Guardian) Despite mixed emotions about an ISIS threat to detonate bombs at a mall in T&T, mall management teams yesterday went ahead and increased security measures in a bid to protect their tenants, shoppers and visitors.
At The Falls at West Mall, Westmoorings, a source told the T&T Guardian all delivery doors were tightly shut and locked and each tenant was given special contact numbers to call when their respective delivery vans came to drop off goods. This was one type of security measure that was immediately implemented.
Attempts were made to speak with the general manager Heidi Alleng but she was said to be at a meeting with other officials for most part of the day when the T&T Guardian visited the mall.
However, speaking with the T&T Guardian, Janet Sabga-Elias, who was at her son Peter Elias’ store, said she was not easily threatened and believed if the militant group ISIS wanted to attack they would do so without having to give any warning or hint.
“It would be after the attacks that they would come out and claim the responsibility. I think the message is trying to instill fear to cause havoc in the economy,” Sabga-Elias added.
She, however, confirmed that security was beefed up at the mall by management following the online release of the messages.
Speaking on behalf of premier malls — Trincity Mall and Long Circular Mall — corporate secretary Roxanne Husbands said since the message was posted in the public’s domain on Monday night, their security personnel had begun heightening security measures, including carrying out extensive searches of the compound.
“We cannot disclose what all our security measures are but we have done and will continue doing it to ensure that our staff, tenants and shoppers are safe,” Husbands said.
Asked if the message had hampered the flow of shoppers to the malls, Husbands replied: “No. There is a constant flow. We have not had any adverse comments but we are maintaining all precautions.”
Also contacted, Derek Chin, of MovieTowne, said he was currently in Chicago on business but was notified of the messages via his son. He also confirmed that as a precautionary measure he had contacted his head of security and gave certain instructions to keep the premises safe and to report any unusual activity.
Shopper Carla Phillip, of Petit Valley, who was at The Falls, said she received the message via her cellphone on Monday.
“I’m not paying any mind on it because I do not think that it is an actual threat. I pray it is a hoax but I think that security should be beefed up,” she said.
Another businessman, who wished not to be identified, said he strongly believed it was a hoax but added that should be a warning and an alert for the nation’s security services to “get their act together.”