Head of the T&T Police Service’s Legal Unit, Christian Chandler, and three Special Reserve Police (SRP) officers were detained late yesterday and could face multiple criminal charges arising out of an incident aboard Chandler’s yacht off the Chaguaramas coast on August 5 this year.
Investigators close to the case told Guardian Media that Chandler was picked up at his Maraval home and taken to the Maloney Police Station for questioning about the incident and charges were expected to be laid overnight into this morning. Three other SRPs were detained by police and also taken into custody for questioning.
At least 10 other people were also on the board the vessel at the time of the incident, including the captain, a 51-year-old Diego Martin businessman and eight women ranging from ages 27-32.
On August 5, Chandler was among 14 people detained aboard a pleasure craft and escorted to Staubles Bay by Coast Guard officers around 8 pm. The T&T Coast Guard said it had received information that a pleasure craft allegedly had more than five people aboard, contrary to the public health regulations, which, at that time, limited the number of public gatherings to five people.
On August 16, Chandler proceeded on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Among the charges that could be laid against Chandler apart from breaching the Public Health Regulations, according to investigators, is misbehaviour in public office, for failing to allow Coast Guard officers to board the vessel. Sources say Chandler could also face firearm-related charges for possession of firearms and ammunition outside the parameters.
The SRPs, sources said, will also face charges in relation to breaching the public health regulations and misbehaviour in public office.
The captain of the vessel will be charged with breaching Public Health Regulations and could also face additional charges, while the businessman and other women, who are also expected to be detained over the next days, will face the charge of breaching the Public Health Regulations.
Police sources said that the businessman, who rents vehicles to various departments of law enforcement, is currently out of the country on business and is expected to return home shortly.
The Public Health Regulations make it an offence to be at a beach or on a boat for recreational purposes and perpetrators could face a fine of up to $250,000 or six months’ imprisonment.