Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

The Government is seeking to extend the current State of Emergency for a further three months.

The motion to extend the SoE is expected to come up for debate in the House of Representatives on Monday, according to the order papers for that day.

The SoE was announced on May 15 by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and proclaimed by President Paula-Mae Weekes several hours later.

Once this motion is laid and debated in Parliament, it means that the current SoE and curfew can continue until July.

According to Monday’s order paper, Rowley is expected to move the motion under Government business.

The debate on Monday is expected to be on the proclamation and the proposed extension.

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Proclamation made by the President on the 15th of May, 2021 declaring that a state of public emergency exists in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago be extended for a further period of three months,” the order paper states.

Constitutionally, once an SoE is imposed it is only valid for 15 days after proclamation, which would mean the restrictions would have to be lifted by the end of May.

However, by taking it to Parliament and seeking an extension, the Government can then seek to extend the initial 15 days to three months.

The motion to extend the SoE does not require Opposition support and can be passed with a simple majority.

United National Congress (UNC) deputy chairman David Lee yesterday said they only received the order papers on Tuesday and will call a caucus to discuss its position to the extension.

If extended, this would be the longest State of Emergency the country has ever faced.

The country’s last experience with an SoE was back in 2011, when then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar called a limited one to combat rising crime after 11 people were killed over a weekend. Persad-Bissessar’s SoE lasted for 15 days and also included a 9 pm to 5 am curfew.

Before that, an SoE was imposed during the 1990 coup attempt.

The country’s first recorded SoE was imposed back in 1970 during the Black Power Revolution.