On day three of the State of Emergency (SoE), 50 people were arrested for breach of curfew hours in eight of the nine police divisions.
This means in the first three days of the SoE, a total of 75 people were arrested across the country.
According to statistics from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) released yesterday, 15 out of the 50 were arrested in the Northern Division; 12 in Tobago; nine in the Eastern Division; five in the Western Division; four in the South Western Division; three in the Central Division and one each in the Port-of-Spain and North Eastern Divisions. No one was arrested in the Southern Division.
Guardian Media was told that police set up 77 roadblocks across the country and arrested 50 people for breaching curfew hours.
But while hundreds of police officers mobilised for routine patrols, roadblocks and sting operations, only a few soldiers were spotted doing patrols on Tuesday night.
In South Trinidad, two soldiers were seen at a roadblock at Lady Hailes Avenue in San Fernando, but on Monday no soldiers were seen and there was little activity at the T&T army base in La Romaine.
A high-ranking National Security official told Guardian Media that out of 5,000 members of the T&T Defence Force, only about 50 soldiers were despatched for patrols during the State of Emergency.
“The Defence Force has 200 vehicles, but only two vehicles went out to assist the police on Tuesday. Our information is that the TTPS sent out 70 vehicles and set up 77 roadblocks. Thousands of police officers have been on the streets doing patrols but there is a noticeable lack of presence in many areas by the T&T Defence Force,” the source said.
Chief of Defence Staff Darryl Daniel could not be reached for comment yesterday, as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered and he did not respond to messages.
Incidents of breaches
Four people, David Burroughs, Naieem Caton, Glenroy Henry and Reno Modesto, who were caught breaking curfew Tuesday night, were each fined $10,000 by a Point Fortin Magistrate yesterday after pleading guilty to the offence.
Another man, Stallone Ramkissoon, who was allegedly spotted along Chatham Beach, Erin, by Cedros police, pleaded not guilty and was granted $75,000 bail with a surety. He is expected to reappear in court to answer the charge.
Meanwhile, two men—Aaron Lynch, 27, of Dyette Street, Cunupia and Kishan Rampersad, 32, of Munroe Road, Cunupia—who attempted to outrun police on Tuesday night, were ordered to pay $5,000 each after pleading guilty to the breach of curfew. The two men were arrested early yesterday morning after police intercepted a vehicle that failed to stop along Bridal Road, Cunupia.
Officers of the St Margaret’s Police Station meanwhile arrested and charged 60-year-old Alloy Turner early Wednesday for breach of curfew and larceny. He pleaded guilty when he appeared before Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan at the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.
Around 3.10 am, officers on mobile patrol observed the suspect pushing a wheelbarrow with 30 clay blocks along the Southern Main Road, St Margaret’s. The officers approached him and asked if he was aware of the curfew hours and if he had the authorisation to be outside.
He told officers he was aware and that he didn’t have authorisation but that it was the only time for him to do what he was doing. Officers also asked where he got the blocks and he pointed to an open piece of land close by. He was asked if he was the owner, or if he had permission to take them, to which he indicated he did not, but only took some. He was arrested for breach of curfew and larceny.
Meanwhile, in San Fernando, several people escaped being charged for breaching the curfew.
An employee from Junior Sammy Contractors was stopped as he headed home, without a curfew pass. The officers escorted him home after he told officers he was returning from work. Several nurses and doctors employed at the San Fernando General Hospital were also stopped. They too were allowed to leave after they presented their hospital identification.