Security blanket over PoS, country –Cops keep J’Ouvert safe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Two friends from the band Jumbeez J’Ouvert play themselves at the Maraval Parkway near the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday morning. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB –

A WIDE security net was placed over Port of Spain and environs by members of the defence force including police and soldiers which ensured a generally safe and incident-free J’Ouvert and start to the two-day Reign of the Merry Monarch.

The police’s Carnival safety and security operation was implemented from even before daybreak as J’Ouvert revellers descended on the Carnival capital to kickstart two days of public merryment.

At most if not all street corners in Port of Spain police officers stood in groups as large as five right down to pairs to ensure masqueraders who gathered along the streets from as early as midnight, did so in a safe environment.

Along Charlotte Street alone, Newsday counted 15 police officers from Independence square up to the Port of Spain General Hospital.

During the day, spectators and masqueraders were seen asking police for directions, or help to find their taxi stands.

SAFE IN SOUTH: Masqueraders from A&K Fashion Lab play their J’Ouvert very early on Monday morning in San Fernando. PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON –

By midday the officers were joined by their seniors with a large group of officers spotted walking through the Brian Lara Promenade before noon. The officers were supported by the soldiers.

Traffic flowed smoothly in and around Port of Spain despite numerous random stop-and-search exercises heading west along the Church Roosevelt Highway, near the Maritime overpass and along Wrightson Road.

Up to that time, police had reported zero arrests.

ACP Collis Hazel, Carnival Gold Commander said there had not been any incidents that ended in injury or fatalities. He said that police had noted the public’s adherence to the glass bottle ban which came into effect during pre-dawn hours of Monday and ends at midnight on Tuesday.

Speaking to Newsday after he participated in an aerial monitoring of masqueraders’ parade routes across Trinidad, Hazel said he was satisfied with the efforts of the police to keep the public safe during J’Ouvert celebrations.

“Utilising the National Helicopter Services we embarked on an aerial view looking at Cedros, South, Western, Point Fortin, Central and all of Port of Spain and I am happy to report the (J’Ouvert) celebrations climaxed very successfully and peacefully.

“There have been no reported incidents thus far as I am aware that warrants any intervention, or that the police could not handle,” Hazel said.

IN THE THICK OF THINGS: Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher patrolled Port of Spain for J’Ouvert celebrations on Monday. PHOTO COURTESY TTPS –

Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher, in a statement later on Monday, confirmed that J’Ouvert celebrations across all ten divisions were safe and secure.

After a walk in Port of Spain and Northern Divisions after J’Ouvert, the top cop said she was extremely pleased with the combined efforts of officers in all ten divisions in ensuring there were no major crime incidents.

Harewood-Christopher said meticulous planning and preparations, training and ramping up of anti-crime and road traffic exercises, such as Operation Grand Slam, in the lead-up to Carnival, have delivered expected results.

With zero reported incidents across the ten divisions, Harewood-Christopher said officers will continue their heightened presence and anti-crime operations across the country to ensure Carnival is safe.