The traditional Independence night fireworks has been cancelled due to the state of emergency curfew, according to National Security Minister John Sandy. At a media briefing yesterday at the National Security Ministry, Sandy said Independence parades will continue as usual on August 31 for the country's 49th anniversary of Independence. "However," he added, "because of concerns regarding people returning home on time we have cancelled the fireworks display." Independence fireworks are usually held in several venues around T&T-including Port-of-Spain and San Fernando-two of the six "hot spots" where curfews are in effect.
Sandy's statement concerning next Wednesday's Independence fireworks was another indication that the state of emergency may last beyond a week. Government sources had projected on Monday that it might not last as long as the 15 days initially indicated. At yesterday's media briefing, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the Government could obtain two extensions of the state of emergency for three-month periods, up to a maximum of six months. He said that could be obtained with a simple majority vote in Parliament. Ramlogan said Senate votes would not be needed for that.
But any further extensions after those two, he said, would require a special three-fifth's majority involving Opposition PNM support. Ramlogan said that by tomorrow President George Maxwell Richards would present a formal statement to House Speaker Wade Mark outlining the basis for the state of emergency.
He said that was a constitutional requirement and would be a private submission and would not require a Parliament session. Opposition leader Keith Rowley -or other PNM MPs-were not available to say if the Opposition would support any further extensions. PNM chief whip Marlene Mc Donald had said on Monday Rowley was in Tobago.