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Security systems go into high gear for safe Carnival
All security systems went into high gear around midnight on Saturday, as T&T celebrates the splendid reign of the Merry Monarch once again. Amid the revelry and relaxation today and tomorrow, Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of operations Jack Ewatski yesterday maintained that various law enforcement arms would be out in full force to deter and apprehend criminals. Ewatski and Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs are expected to conduct mobile patrols along the different Carnival routes in Port-of-Spain today. All police officers who were on vacation had their leave cancelled and were ordered out to duty from Friday.
The skyship, also known as the blimp, will not be a part of the Government’s security measures this year. Instead, helicopters from the soon-to-be disbanded Special Anti-Crime Unit of T&T (Sautt), equipped with high-tech cameras make up the security detail. Members of the Mounted Branch were also visible throughout the streets of Port-of-Spain yesterday. Ewatski expressed his pleasure that anti-crime measures put in place since Friday were “working well,” including beefing up of patrols along the eastern and northern coasts. He, however, admitted that there had been a few “minor incidents” over the weekend which stemmed from disorderly behaviour.
It was reported that fights broke out at some fetes over the weekend, but no one was seriously injured. “Everyone is having a good time and there is a lot of celebration everywhere,” Ewatski said. “But in doing so, we have had some minor incidents mainly due to intoxication and disorderly behaviour. “There have been no reports of serious crimes and we are hoping to keep it that way, even long after Carnival has ended. “It appears that our safety mechanisms are doing well.” He also expressed confidence in the various arms of the law enforcement bodies, saying there was a heightened presence of joint army/police patrols throughout T&T, in “hot spots” and even in far-flung areas.
Some 13 police booths have been set up throughout Port-of-Spain to take reports of different issues, including missing children, pickpocketing and theft. And as scores of police and soldiers hit the streets around four am today to man J’Ouvert celebrations, Ewatski also expressed optimism that it would be crime free. Roadblocks are also expected to be set up along the various routes leading into Port-of-Spain. There would also be increased plain-clothes officers in the various J’Ouvert bands at downtown Port-of-Spain and in St James and at City Gate, Port-of-Spain, to stem the tide of illegal weapons and narcotics.
“We have all systems in place and we are ready for J’Ouvert, in Port-of-Spain and every where else,” Ewatski said. He added that despite the upsurge in anti-crime measures, the police would not let its guard down. “But with all the anti-crime measures and tactics, that does not mean that we are going to let our guard down,” he said. “Now more than ever we would be focused and the police would be out in full force, looking out for serious crime offenders, traffic violators, you name it.”
Surveillance stepped up at airports
Narco-trafficking is at its peak during the Carnival season because of the influx of visitors. However, additional members of the Organised, Crime, Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) have been posted at the Piarco and Crown Point airports to weed out drug traffickers, police said.
Locations of police booths
in Port-of-Spain include:
Sacred Heart Girls’ RC.
Fraud Squad, Richmond Street.
Central Police Station.
Grand and North Stands, Queen’s Park Savannah.
“The Greens” Piccadilly Street.
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