Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says the Stay-at-Home order is not meant to create panic nor confine people to their homes, as was the case with a curfew during an SoE. Rather, he says it is meant limiting one’s constitutional right so a greater good can be achieved.
Trying to clarify some of the issues with the order during a tour of the Chaguanas Marketon Saturday, Griffith said if banks, groceries, pharmacies and even the media continue to function, this means people would leave their homes and venture out to conduct business.
“You have the right to be on the road. You have the right to walk. You have the right to purchase a newspaper. You have the right to go to the supermarket. What you cannot do is open a non-essential business. You cannot converge in groups of ten,” he said.
In the case of elderly-care givers, he said, “That person has a right to leave their home and go to work.”
And for families using the opportunity to escape for some relaxation Down the Islands or on their pleasure yachts, Griffith said they were not about preventing people from visiting their homes wherever they may be, or even getting fast food and medication.
However, he said, “Do it and get back home. If someone has a home Down the Islands, we cannot stop you from leaving Trinidad to go there. In fact, if you want to go and stay in that home for two weeks, better yet for me.”
He said once groups do not exceed ten people it was okay - but if two or three boats converge to form a raft-about, then that would be a breach of the regulations. He reinforced the warning by health officials that the next two weeks would be critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19, as he urged people to stay at home as much as possible.
The CoP also denied there was high absenteeism amongst officers.
“The officers have stepped up to the plate, they have turned up for duty and risking their health and that of their family members, they are doing their job,” he said.
Referring to the situation which had led to the closure of the Arouca Police Station, after one officer retuned from unauthorised leave abroad and developed flu-like symptoms, Griffith said 100 officers were now quarantined. He said steps were being made to get the results back as quickly as possible because it was imperative to have them back at work.