Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob is warning those who wish to deliberately violate the Public Health Regulations that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will enforce the law.
“We intend to enforce the law in an aggressive manner. Once persons have not been granted permission, the police officers will make the necessary arrests and the question of discretions will be left to the court. They will feel the full brunt of the law. We will move around with our buses and will make arrests,” Jacob told the Sunday Guardian by phone yesterday.
He said since the pandemic started, the TTPS had issued 21,254 fixed penalty tickets to people who have violated the COVID-19 regulations, including for not wearing face masks. He said between 6 am on Friday and 6 am yesterday alone, the TTPS issued 100 fixed penalty tickets.
Jacob said since the Safe Zone initiative started, the TTPS had issued 153 fixed penalty tickets to individuals for violations of the zones and five times to business owners.
He also said it was also unfortunate that since the State of Emergency (SoE) was lifted last month, citizens’ behaviour had changed.
“Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of persons violating the COVID-19 rules since the SoE lifted. Persons are constantly bent on creating all different measures to cause unnecessary gatherings. A lot of them are politically-driven events where there are small groups actually converging together to create difficulties for the police. An example is what happened at the Savannah recently,” he said about the recent protest against Government’s COVID policies, where 30-plus people were arrested.
He said unruly citizens are placing the lives of the police at risk when they go to break up these events, noting officers are in danger of contracting the virus.
“At present, the TTPS has 634 police officers on quarantine, with 148 police officers who have tested positive in recent times. We have 17 police officers who are now deceased. In some instances, the police have to go into action and institute arrests of individuals who choose to violate the regulations. We believe in some of these situations the police officers may be unfortunately affected with COVID-19.”
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh also yesterday warned the public about large gatherings that violate the Public Health guidelines and regulations, as he responded to public complaints about a promotional motorcade by Angostura on Friday.
Asked whether a motorcade involving women on trucks and music was sending the wrong message during a third wave of the pandemic, Deyalsingh said, “There is something called the Public Health Regulations. We just ask all persons, whether it is corporate or individual…what I did see is what happened in the Savannah. It was very disconcerting. It is about any type of gathering, even if it is your homes, any type of gathering at this time is something that we should think twice or three times about. Whether it is a protest as we saw in the savannah and people encouraging their children not to wear masks. I am just hoping that gathering in the Savannah does not result in a spike.”
In a statement to the Sunday Guardian, Angostura said that on Friday (December 3) and yesterday (December 4), the Angostura Rule the Road Caravan participated in islandwide promotional activities in several parts of Trinidad.
Angostura said in keeping with COVID-19 regulations, the caravan, which consisted of music trucks, trailers and a tow truck displaying the all-new Jeep Rubicon prize, did not allow gatherings or interactions. Angostura used the caravan as part of its roll-out for its new packaging project for White Oak, new product campaigns and the Jeep promotions this month. It said in previous years, these events involved bar stops, live performances and inviting persons to participate in the trailer activities.
“This year, none of that happened because the company understands that this is the new normal and while business must continue, we must balance lives and livelihoods. All our activities and activations are now done through the lens of safety. In addition to our announcers and messages, we enclosed the trailers with plexiglass to avoid and discourage any interaction with our promo teams, thereby also keeping the public safe.”
Angostura added that all their trailers were equipped with electronic boards which also prompted messages of safety - reinforcing the need to stay safe, the need to vaccinate and to wear masks.
“We took the communication one step further today (Saturday), with our announcers asking persons to go to mass vaccination sites which are open to the population and get vaccinated which is a responsible corporate concern for the country.”