“The activities of a few should not be allowed to encroach upon the rights and liberties of the majority of law-abiding citizens of our nation. Several religious organisations have called for cancellation of their activities that may keep their members away from home late in the evening,” the IRO said in a media release.
It asked that “sensitivity” be shown to members of the Muslim community who during the month of Ramadan may be going home when the curfew was in effect. The hours of the curfew are 9 pm to 5 am.
The IRO said it recognised the need to temporarily sacrifice civil liberties in order to allow security agencies the opportunity to curb the situation that may be out of control, and looked forward to a return to normalcy. However the IRO said the sacrifices it endured for an extended period can have a detrimental effect on lives and cause a “negative image in the eyes of the international community.”
The Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha endorsed the action taken by government and said one of the factors contributing to the People’s Partnership being elected was dealing with crime.
“Given the recent figures of 11 murders in just over 48 hours such action was necessary and failure to act would have constituted failure to deliver on the campaign promise of dealing with crime.” The Maha Sabha reminded that the Partnership manifesto had stated “interventions of a proactive and preventive nature” would be implemented in the fight against crime.
It appreciated that curfews and other security enhancement strategies affect “only the crime hot spots plagued by a few lawless thugs and hooligans, and not the entire country.”
The Maha Sabha said for years residents in “hot spots” have a self-imposed curfew and converted their homes into virtual prisons to escape criminal elements in society.
I said invoking section 8 of the Constitution of TT was long overdue given recent statistics on murders and serious crime in the country.
Observing that there was heightened religious activity in the Hindu and other communities and various forms of prayers and devotions may run sometimes beyond 11 pm, the Maha Sabha advised its temples and devotees to begin prayer services earlier to conclude at 8 pm to allow persons sufficient time to return to their homes.
“Conditions may seem extreme during this period but we are calling on all citizens to hold firm as the government and armed forces rid our country of criminality and lawlessness,” the Maha Sabha said.