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A police patrol on Maracas Bay in January this year.

There is expected to be a large security contingent comprising different arms of the national security services during the Easter holidays. A senior security official told Guardian Media that Police Commissioner Gary Griffith intends to intensify police operations and has requested support from the T&T Defence Force and the Coast Guard.

“There will be an immense police presence as operations will be intensified throughout the country.”

Law enforcement officers will be patrolling beaches, malls, areas around the Queen’s Park Savannah and other recreational and popular areas throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In a recent TTPS release, Griffith advised the Christian and the Shouter Baptist communities to ensure that they adhere to the Public Health Ordinance Regulations as they celebrate Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day today and the Easter celebrations starting with the Good Friday. Noting that thousands of people participate in the religious events, he said, “But we are not in normal times. This month marked one year since the virus has been with us. So far, 141 persons have died as a result of the virus and thousands were affected. The borders have been closed and there are restrictions in place to protect the country. We have noticed over the past year, some events with large gatherings caused a spike in cases. The TTPS has been on the front line ensuring that people observe the restrictions and adhere to the protocols. I know these upcoming events always attracted thousands of people, but this time, we have to be careful. I am asking the organisers of these events to ensure that their followers do the right thing.”

He said that in recent weeks, he had been very accommodating to persons and groups who requested permission to hold vigils, protests, meetings, and marches.

However, he noted with concern that some of these requests for gatherings turned out to be in contravention of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, Section 3 (1), which states, that a person shall not, without reasonable justification be found at any public place where the number of persons gathered, at any time, exceeds ten. As a result, the Commissioner would not be entertaining any requests at this time to hold vigils and marches. When contacted about the measures that would be enforced during the holidays to ensure that people comply with the regulations, Griffith said he could not reveal his operational plans and referred to the above-mentioned release.