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A police officer not wearing his mask properly hold a man also not wearing his in the correct manner on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. The officer tried to apprehend the man who was liming with others. He complained about the manner in which the officer dealt with him and went on to make threats, he was allowed to leave following the fracas.

Fifty-two people have died from COVID since the State of Emergency was declared while 1,771 new infections have been reported, yet citizens continue to brazenly break the law, endangering themselves and others.

Since the State of Emergency came into effect, a total of 25 people have been charged for breaching the curfew and there have 10, 854 breaches of public health regulations and arrests recorded by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

Out of this figure, the police issued over 10,122 penalty notices and made 732 arrests in all nine Divisions.

Apart from these violations, Guardian Media’s team of photographers have captured many breaches of public health regulations during the SOE which carry a fine of $250,000 or six months imprisonment.

Along High Street, San Fernando on Tuesday morning, a woman was photographed by cameraman Kristian De Silva walking with her mask pulled down to her chin.

When cautioned by the police, the woman began arguing. She crossed the street, pulled out a cigarette and began smoking in direct breach of the Public Health regulations.

When police approached her, this time with a ticket in hand, the woman threw the ticket on the ground and walked off before entering a taxi at the Marabella stand. The officers never arrested her.

Photographer Rishi Ragoonath also captured limers at Mucurapo Street, San Fernando on Sunday while in Central Trinidad cameraman Adrian Boodan captured people jogging in public spaces.

Based on the TTPS statistics, the Southern Division has had the least breaches in regulations. Since Sunday, seven people were arrested in the Tobago Division; six in the Northern Division; three in the Western Division and one each in the Central, North-Eastern and Port-of-Spain Divisions.

Between 6 am on Sunday to 6 am on Wednesday, a total of 10,122 people in the nine police divisions were issued Public Health Fixed Penalty Notices while 732 people from the nine police divisions were arrested for breaching public health regulations.

Contacted for comment, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith agreed that a minority of people were behaving irresponsibly.

“Some has been behaving very irresponsible. Some are trying to influence people to go out without a curfew permit. If you go out there you will be stopped by the police and there is a good chance you will be pulled into a station and spend several hours verifying whether you are an essential service doing an essential duty,” Griffith said.

He later told CNC3 7 pm news anchor Ria Rambally in an interview that it was apparent people “didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.”

He said the public largely has been cooperative with just a few people trying to beat the clock to get into their homes before 9 pm.

Breakdown of breaches

Nineteen people were arrested on the second day of the State of Emergency (SoE), bringing the total thus far to 25 in just two days.

According to statistics provided by the TTPS seven were arrested in the Tobago Division; six in the Northern Division; three in the Western Division and one each in the Central, North-Eastern and Port-of-Spain Divisions on Tuesday.

Among those held and charged, Darryl Morris, 35, of Allamande Road, Malabar, who was placed on a bond for 12 months, or in default will have to serve three months’ hard labour.

Morris appeared virtually yesterday before Port-of-Spain Magistrate Indira Baboolal-Gafoor, charged for breach of curfew after he was stopped by officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF), in Morvant after 9 pm.

And Brandon Shockness and Isaiah Pritchard were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, and the breach of curfew regulations after police conducted a curfew enforcement exercise in Cocorite Tuesday night.