The Police Service is cautioning the population that there are laws in place to restrict the unauthorized sale and misuse of fireworks.
The warning comes ahead of the Independence Day holiday, which is usually celebrated by discharging pyrotechnic devices.
According to Inspector Ashraf Ali, while the penalty may not be severe, it should not encourage people to break the laws regarding the use of fireworks.
“When you look at the geographical location of electrical towers to the street and the way our housing developments are made and laid out, almost every 60 feet from a street, the general population who sets off fireworks is committing an offence,” he explained.
The Police Service and activist groups also are reminding the public to be mindful of the detrimental effects which the noise from fireworks can have on sensitive groups in communities, such as new-born babies, the elderly and animals.
Key governing Regulations
The Ministry of National Security and the Police Service both advise the public that the use of fireworks must be observed in accordance with the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago.
Under Section 99 of the Summary Offences Act: “Any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks within any town is liable to a fine of one thousand dollars.”
With regard to the Sale of Fireworks, the Explosives Act Chapter 16:02 Section 10(1) clearly states: “No person other than a wholesale or retail dealer shall sell gunpowder or offer or expose the same for sale.
Section 10(2) of Chapter 16:02 of the Explosives Act states: “Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section is liable to a fine of two thousand dollars.”
The public is also advised to note the Explosives (Prohibition of Scratch Bombs) Order 2018, in keeping with Section 37 of the Explosives Act Chapter 16:02.
The Scratch Bombs Order prohibits persons from manufacturing, importing, keeping, conveying or selling a scratch bomb. Persons found breaching the Order may be liable upon indictment, to a fine of $20,000 or ten years’ imprisonment or forfeiture of the items.
The Ministry of National Security suggests the following fireworks general safety tips, to help prevent accidents and injury:
■ The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays put on by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
■ If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area and seek to obtain the necessary permission.
■ Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
■ Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
■ Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a device does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
■ Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a device is not marked with the contents, direction, and a warning label, do not light it.
■ Supervise children around fireworks at all times.
■ If possible, keep pets indoors. If you prefer to keep your pets outside, take steps to ensure their enclosure/kennel is comfortable and securely locked