The state of emergency was instituted to avert a "crisis," which will be fully aired and debated when the House of Representatives meets next week Friday, according to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. Ramlogan indicated this yesterday to reporters when pressed to elaborate on the reasons for the state of emergency and how successful it had been so far. Ramlogan had said on Tuesday that President George Maxwell Richards would be submitting to House Speaker Wade Mark a statement on the reasons for the state of emergency in two days' time-by today. Ramlogan said yesterday the President's statement would be debated in the Lower House when it resumed next week Friday and that would set out the basis on which the President acted to invoke the state of emergency.
Asked if the sitting would debate any order to extend the current state of emergency beyond 15 days, Moonilal said, "This has not been decided yet," Yesterday, the Law Association headed by Dana Seetahal noted the regulations and powers of the various authorities under the state of emergency. The association issued a statement saying members expected that before September 5 "The country will be apprised by the authorities as to what has been the impact of these measures and what is the intention of the Government regarding any extension of the state of emergency." Ramlogan said no decision had been taken on the duration of the state of emergency "at this point in time."
Ramlogan said the state of emergency was decided upon based on intelligence from security agencies which Government could not share with the population at this time. He added: "But which I want to assure you averted a crisis." Pressed on what the crisis was, Ramlogan said, "There was an immediate threat and endangerment to public safety and innocent citizens could have lost their lives had we not declared a state of emergency and taken swift and immediate action." "More will be said about this when the President's statement is debated in the House," Ramlogan added. He maintained the "crisis" had been averted by the state of emergency and curfew imposed in specific areas.
Earlier, at a media briefing, Ramlogan had noted that the step towards the state of emergency was preceded by a $22 million drug bust by the authorities. He said: "It is not just the amount of money the drugs are worth and what the seizure represents to the criminal enterprise involved in that business trafficking (but) it goes deeper." Ramlogan said the police were able to "stop in its tracks an entire drug operation " that used T&T as a route and transshipment point. Ramlogan said the situation carried implications concerning reprisals and the situation could also prevented a further $100 million of drugs coming into T&T weekly.
Ramlogan said the disruptions caused by this particular drug bust and the "ramifications down the food chain" would have been "very very heavy". On Opposition PNM claims that the state of emergency was called to stifle labour protests, Ramlogan said," We didn't need this to deal with labour protests, this is about violent crime... no murders have occurred since we declared a state of emergency and that's a big success in a country where 11 people were murdered in four days."National Security Minister John Sandy also said yesterday that "in the not too distant "future "it will be revealed whether only "small fry" were netted in the state of emergency.