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Club Zone has to wait for licence
The closure of bars in St James at 3 am has resulted in a decrease in criminal activities. A police officer yesterday objected to the issuing of a dancehall licence to Club Zone on Western Main Road, St James, because he said such licences would encourage crime. Cpl Peters, attached to Western Division, told Port-of-Spain senior magistrate Lucina Cardenas–Ragoonanan in the Four B Court “crime is down in the Western Division.” Simone John, a representative of Club Zone, made an application to renew the club’s annual dancehall licence but Peters said the police were controlling crime in the area and it was difficult for them to monitor the influx of people in such an environment. He said the music attracted young people.
Peters added the closure of bars at 3 am had been helping with crime. Last year Port-of-Spain mayor Louis Lee Sing called for bars to stop selling alcohol at midnight but the police and bar-owners agreed to close at 3 am. Cardenas–Ragoonanan, however, said while it was people’s right to apply for such a licence they needed to communicate with the police to agree to conditions and provisions in a written document. She said crime “is really escalating” and while she did not want to deny one applicant, she instead urged them to apply but with an agreement to help control the low level of crime. Club Zone and most other bars also have a special restaurant and bar licence. John said Club Zone normally held dancehall events on a Friday and Saturday. Cardenas–Ragoonanan advised Peters to record specific incidents of any criminal activities linked to bars in the area which could be grounds to deny a licence. She adjourned all matters for dancehall licences to February 10.
Crime down almost 50 per cent
Inspector Henry Dan attached to the St James Police Station said throughout the Western Division, crime had decreased by almost 50 per cent. In an interview yesterday, Dan said: “Yes, it is a fact that crime has dropped.” He said the number of murders, robberies, fights, wounding and car theft had dropped significantly. He added breaking into vehicles and house robberies also diminished. Dan said since the early closure of bars people were going home sober. He said criminal activity was rampant between the hours of 4 am and 6 am prior to the new stipulation. “Every weekend we have teams of officers going out to maintain peace in the area. “We met with residents and we had meetings with the bar owners and there has been a drastic change.”
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