Hinds, Mitchell meet Carnival stakeholders over crime concerns

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell. – File photo

AFTER last Sunday’s killing of labourer Akeil Archer while erecting vendors’ booths at Queen’s Park Savannah a month ahead of Carnival, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds and Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell  hosted stakeholders on Monday to discuss anti-crime measures ahead of the festival.

Four men with automatic assault rifles murdered Archer, who had jumped out of the tray of a truck in a fruitless bid to escape with his life.

Meeting at Hinds’ ministry were Port of Spain mayor Chinua Alleyne and police officers, the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and the Promoters Association.

A ministry statement on Wednesday said Hinds told the meeting collaboration was needed to address public concerns about crime and safety.

Mitchell said the meeting was called earlier than in past years to ensure anti-crime measures were in place.

NCC board member Darian Marcelle lamented Archer’s death.

Hinds related concerns recently conveyed at his meeting with contractors about “extortion attempts by alleged gang members.”

“Hinds advised that measures have been put in place to deal with all aspects of crime.

“He gave the assurance that the NCC construction sites and event venues will be given similar attention,” the release said.

Hinds highlighted the need to work with police, whose intelligence gives key information and advice to identify and resist gang activity at certain locations.

ACP Kelvern Thompson said police had new initiatives (plus existing strategies) to address the concerns of Carnival stakeholders, including cruise ships and the general public. He said police were working with the NCC and others for “more targeted measures.”

This included a proposed MoU between police and the Promoters Association for standardised procedures for security at fetes and public events.

“All stakeholders have agreed to host weekly meetings in the run-up to Carnival, in addition to monitoring CCTV platforms at various event sites, to ensure the safety and security of all citizens during this period and onward.”

The public will be told of the outcomes of these meetings, the statement promised.

“The Ministry of National Security assures that all the necessary resources will be directed to suppress the criminal elements, whose conduct may negatively impact this rich and economically viable festival.”