T&T Govt was planning 12-hour curfew

– National Security Minister

(Trinidad Guardian) Government had initially planned to implement a daily 6 pm to 6 am curfew in “hot spots” involved in the limited state of emergency, National Security Minister John Sandy said on Sunday. He made the comment at a media briefing at the National Security Ministry, Port-of-Spain, regarding the limited state of emergency and the 9 pm to 5 am curfew now in force. The plan is being applied in six areas in north, east, south and central Trinidad in a bid to clamp down on criminal elements. Sandy acknowledged there would be some discomfort for members of the public. He said, for instance, Government initially had considered a 6 pm to 6 am curfew.

But he said other “entities” made a case to alter that in view of the Muslim community’s holy fasting month of Ramadan. Sandy said efforts were in place to ensure those who were required to be on the streets after the 9 pm curfew would have passes or permits. “But persons are not required to be on the streets after 9 pm, Please co-operate with us and stay at home—the best place to be is at home,” Sandy added. He said security agencies would have dealt leniently with those who had applied for passes and had not got them by last night. Such persons who had not received their passes were advised to have two forms of photo identification.

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said persons arriving at Piarco International Airport after curfew hours could access passes to reach their destination at a special counter near the airport’s domestic terminal. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the PTSC had put on additional buses to accommodate the travelling public to get home by curfew time. Williams said applications for passes or permits could be made at the applicant’s nearest police station. He said permits would be limited to persons who would be required by work to move outside of curfew hours and other people in the essential services and not for everyone who applied.

Williams said the media did not fall into the category of essential services. He said passes would not apply to taxi or maxi drivers or PH drivers. He advised that persons would have to adjust arrangements to access their homes by curfew times since it was almost impossible to manage issuing of permits to taxis for some areas. Williams said security officers also would be given instructions on discretion to deal with the issue of persons who have to get to hospitals. He said soldiers would be collaborating with police on operations, although the army would be able to operate on its own.

Under the emergency powers regulations:

• No person shall be out of doors in the areas and at the times specified in Schedule 3 without a permit in writing of the Commissioner of Police, or such other person or authority as may be authorised by him for the purpose and any such permission may be granted subject to such conditions as may be specified therein;

• a person shall be exempted from the requirement of a permit if they produce evidence that they are a police officer or Defence Force member on duty;

• a permit may be obtained upon written application to the officer in charge of a police station; and

• an applicant for permit shall provide to an officer in charge of the police station to whom an application is made, his name, home address and, if employed, work address and telephone numbers.

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