By NALINEE SEELAL
Saturday, February 2 2008
POLICE Commissioner Trevor Paul yesterday issued a stern warning to members of the public arrested during Carnival Monday and Tuesday, that they will be kept in custody until they appear in court on Ash Wednesday.
In the past, persons arrested in Port-of-Spain on Carnival Monday appeared before a magistrate during a special sitting but as a strategy to deter persons from committing crimes, a decision was taken to keep arrested persons in custody in the mandatory 48-hour period which the police are allowed.
Paul made the statements during a press briefing with Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Edmund Dillon, Director of the Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) Brigadier Peter Joseph, and Comptroller of Customs and Excise Fitzroy John at the Ministry of National Security, Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Paul, who was the first to address members of the media, said, “I have also given strict instructions to police officers to deal aggressively with those who choose to indulge in criminal activities, and moreso, to confront law enforcement as they commit their criminal acts.”
“It must be understood that any such confrontation will be met with the degree of force that is deemed necessary,” said a tough talking Paul.
He said 4,000 police officers will be utilised during the celebrations with support from the Defence Force which will have soldiers on the ground on mobile patrols and on reserve at camp. The Commissioner did not say where the 4,000 officers will come from since the Police Service was up to yesterday operating with a strength of close to 2,500 officers.
Newsday learnt that the Commissioner has recalled officers on leave to report for duty to augment the strength of the service for Carnival.
J’ouvert will begin at 4 am on Carnival Monday. Police officers are threatening to “sick out” in protest over the non-payment of overtime owed to them since February last year. Sources revealed that the Commissioner has not given any indication when the overtime will be paid.
In terms of security, Paul said officers assisted by soldiers will also focus on the properties of those who may be away from their homes participating in the Carnival, either as masqueraders or spectators, ensuring that their properties are not the targets of criminals. He also said closed circuit television cameras will be used in Port-of-Spain and outlying areas.
The Commissioner was given the assurance yesterday by Brigadiers Dillon and Joseph that the police will get the necessary support in an attempt to make Carnival crime free and safe.
John said the coastal areas will be properly manned by customs officers and they will engage in joint patrols with the police in hot spots where smuggling takes place.
Yesterday, in an earlier press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Deputy Police Commissioner Gilbert Reyes said 2,000 police officers and 500 soldiers will be deployed in Port- of-Spain to ensure that Carnival is safe. With respect to threats that police officers owed overtime will proceed on a “sick out”, DCP Reyes said as far as he is aware, officers will not be proceeding in any sick out or protest action.
So wa d fock is the difference between living yuh normal life for the rest of the year and Carnival.
Oh god, I tell yuh nigga real dotish yes. Whole year dey killin one another, kidnapping, robbing and raping Indian people all over the country and this big mudder cont doh find it necessary to issue any "stern warnings."
Well Mr. Commissioner of Pissing, not everybody like to rant and rave and fock dong the place and be like animals for fockin Carnival.
Some of us like to use the period in ah productive manner and I think you should fockin focus on the normal people and not the fockin animals.