Persons arrested and detained under the limited state of emergency in force throughout north, south, east and central Trinidad for the next 14 days, will not be immediately allowed bail, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan indicated yesterday. "The war (on crime) is on.....!" Ramlogan declared yesterday as he elaborated on the limited state of emergency which was announced by Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar on Sunday night. "We have declared a state of war in T&T against the criminal element and we will not stop until we recapture T&T. The time has come for action, these are desperate times because we sense and identify with the desperation of the population-this is why we've taken this decision to act firmly," Ramlogan added.
Ramlogan, National Security Minister John Sandy, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams and Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj spoke at a media briefing at the National Security Ministry in Port- of-Spain on the limited state of emergency. Downtown Port-of-Spain emptied quickly yesterday as citizens attempted to get home to points outside of the capital ahead of the curfew. Persad-Bissessar on Sunday announced the limited state of emergency in six crime "hot spot" areas to deal with the crime surge following the recent occurrence of 11 murders in one day. Sandy yesterday signalled that Government was going after gang members, circulation of firearms and drug traffickers and was bidding to get as many weapons as possible off the streets. The limited state of emergency will apply to districts within six areas defined by regional corporation boundaries.
They are the cities of Port of Spain and San Fernando, and corporations of Arima, Chaguanas, San Juan/Laventille, Diego Martin. A 9 pm to 5 am curfew which began last Sunday, will apply in those areas.
Ramlogan said President George Maxwell Richards had signed the proclamation for the limited state of emergency. Although the plan had been described as a "limited" state of emergency, the six municipal areas which it applies to encompasses most of Trinidad including north, east, south and central.
Tobago was not included in the limited state of emergency or curfew. Williams, however, said a heightened policing presence would apply all over T&T 24 hours daily, including areas not involved in the limited state of emergency. Sandy said the law provided for the limited sate of emergency to be in effect for 15 days in the first instance and this would be applied.
He said a four-member inter ministerial committee appointed by the PM would examine what would take place concerning the upcoming Independence celebrations. Ramlogan said the public's constitutional rights have not been suspended in the situation. He said Government was using the same emergency regulation powers which had been used during the 1990 coup attempt. Under the regulations, Ramlogan said Defence Force soldiers as well as police had special powers of arrest and detention, as well as the power to search and seize without a search warrant. Ramlogan added, "The scale is now tipped in favour of the law enforcement agencies to empower them to fight back."Ramlogan said any citizen who was arrested could be detained for 24 hours in the first instance.
Thereafter a magistrate or senior superintendent of police could authorise a further period of detention not exceeding seven days in total, he said. Ramlogan said the question of bail does not arise under the detention period. If charged with offences under the emergency regulations, a person will not get bail either, he added. Ramlogan said a tribunal being put together by Chief Justice Ivor Archie would deal with all grievances expeditiously. Ramlogan met with Archie on the matter yesterday. Ramlogan said persons could be charged under the Anti Gang laws also. This would lead to further detention, if necessary, he added.
Ramlogan urged members of the public who had information about criminal activity to report it to law enforcement. He said the response so far had been "very very encouraging." Ramlogan said the selected six areas were chosen by the National Security Council based on certain intelligence received by Government. He said areas like Maloney and Tunapuna, which were not part of the six districts, would remain the focus of heightened police attention also. On the possible abuse of power by maverick elements, Ramlogan said, "Any form of abuse of power by any state official will not be treated lightly and we therefore ask that police officers and soldiers approach this in a responsible, mature manner as we have every confidence they will," Ramlogan said the population had been living with an undeclared state of emergency and "jailed" behind burglar proofing bars for the past nine years due to the criminal element which was "free on the streets."
Ramlogan noted that in 2003, a team headed by prominent businessman Ken Gordon had proposed a limited state of emergency at a time when kidnappings and bombings in Port of Spain had been taking place. Ramlogan noted that the-then PNM Government had rejected this. Ramlogan said this is the fifth state of emergency in T&T. Others have included during the 1970s Black Power uprising and during the 1990 coup attempt. A limited state of emergency also applied in August 1995 which the past PNM administration invoked to remove former House Speaker Occah Seapaul.
LEGAL NOTICE NO. 164
REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
THE EMERGENCY POWERS REGULATIONS, 2011
MADE BY THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE UNDER REGULATION 4 OF
THE EMERGENCY POWERS REGULATIONS, AND BY VIRTUE AND IN
EXERCISE OF ALL OTHER POWERS ENABLING HIM IN THAT BEHALF
THE EMERGENCY POWERS (CURFEW) ORDER, 2011
1. This Order may be cited as the Emergency Powers (Curfew)
2. This Order applies to the areas described in the Schedules and such areas as are declared Curfew Areas for the purpose of the Emergency Powers Regulations, 2011.
3. Subject to the exemption hereinafter provided, no person shall
be out of doors in the areas and at the times specified in the Schedules without a permit in writing of the Commissioner of Police or such other person or authority as may be authorised by him for the purpose and any such permission may be granted subject to such conditions as may be specified therein.
4. A person shall be exempted from the requirement to be in possession of a permit, who, on being required so to do by any police officer or member of the Defence Force in uniform, produces evidence that he is-
(a) a police officer or member of the Defence Force who is on duty;
(b) a person who is the holder of a permit as mentioned in paragraph 3.
5. (1) A permit referred to in paragraph 3 may be obtained upon written application to the officer in charge of a police station.
(2) An applicant for a permit referred to in paragraph 3 shall provide to the officer in charge of the police station to whom the application is made, his name, home address and, if employed, work address and telephone number or numbers, if more than one.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in the City of Port-of-Spain as demarcated in the First Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in the city of San Fernando as demarcated in the First Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in the Borough of Arima as demarcated in the First Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in Borough of Chaguanas as demarcated in the First Part of the Second Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in the Region of Diego Martin as demarcated in the Second Part of the Second Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m. in the Region of San Juan/Laventille as demarcated in the Second Part of the Second Schedule to the Municipal Corporations Act.
Made by the Commissioner of Police this 22nd day of August, 2011.
Acting Commissioner of Police