Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher, left, Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds, centre, and acting Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Dexter Francis during walkabout on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain on Carnival Tuesday. – JEFF K. MAYERS
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said his is satisfied with the safety and security of the country during Carnival thus far, based on law enforcement reports.
He was speaking during a walkabout downtown on Carnival Tuesday, accompanied by Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher, Acting Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Dexter Francis, Prisons Commissioner Deopersad Ramoutar, and Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristo.
The group walked down Abercromby Street, across South Quay, up Charlotte Street, through Piccadilly as they headed to the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Speaking to reporters on Independence Square, Hinds said he was quite happy with the efforts of law enforcement to keep TT safe and secure.
“Having been briefed and having briefed the Cabinet and the National Security Council on the operational platform that the police commissioner and the other heads of national security agencies have put in place, thus far, on behalf of all us, I can say I am quite sanguine, quite happy.
“So far I have had an opportunity to see, and even in this morning’s report, with both the safety and security so far, it appears that the systems that have been put in place, whether aerial, on the sea, and certainly on the land, into this festivity, seem to have been working.”
He appealed to people to continue to behave well.
“I ask us as Trinidadians and Tobagonians, those of us involved in the activity, and even those who are not, because sometimes things happen at home, to conduct ourselves in a very civil and dignified manner and realise that your disputes can be solved in ways other than to hurt or kill each other.
“Remember we have thousands of visitors here, I just saw some of us in the band behind us, because they want to support our economy, support our Carnival festivities, and they deserve that we would provide them with happiness and most of all protection.”
Harewood-Christopher said the Carnival has been safe thus far and there have been no reports of any major incidents.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank all my officers for their outstanding efforts. All areas are covered. Officers who were on vacation were required to come in and they did.”
She said there were no truth to reports of industrial action being taken over the signing of a four per cent salary offer with the government.
She was asked about masqueraders or participants who might be travelling with legal firearms, as well as measures to detect illegal firearms.
“I would advise our masqueraders who have legal firearms who have come to enjoy the festivities to continue to be responsible in their behaviours. I want to advise that we continue our road monitoring to minimise the entry of illegal firearms and keep the festivities safe.”
Harewood-Christopher said while there had been an increase in firearm applications before the Carnival festivities, these would not have been granted owing to the need for a stringent investigative process.
Ramoutar said prison officers were in full attendance on Monday and over the weekend.
“I have to commend my officers. The prisoners are quite calm and all is in order. We are quite safe.”
Francis said the Defence Force is out in full numbers and supporting each division throughout TT.
“No incidents have been reported. Soldiers respond to calls for assistance by members of the police service. In that regard, any authority soldiers carry out, they carry out at the behest of the members of the police service. The soldiers will allow the police to do their jobs and will provide a safe and secure environment to do so.”