“We intend to continue dismantling the gangs and to create a safe environment for everyone in Trinidad and Tobago,” Gibbs said at a media briefing at the Ministry of National Security, Temple Court, Port-of-Spain.
Gibbs said that from Thursday to early yesterday, 147 people had been arrested. Of these, 75 were held in relation to gang activity; eight in relation to suspected homicides; 21 on drug offences; four for breaking curfew; one in relation to unauthorised firearms; four on outstanding warrants and 19 others on serious offences.
For yet another time, a major gang leader, said to be a known drug-dealer, was held at Tobago.
Additionally, members of the National Security Council disclosed that one mobile phone “with usable data of interest to national security” was seized.
In a press briefing in which members of the NSC displayed signs of the strain of 24/7 efforts to deal with crime, Minister of National Security Brigadier John Sandy once more made it abundantly clear that the curfews currently in place apply to the local government bodies of: Port-of-Spain, San Fernando, Arima, Chaguanas, San Juan/Laventille, Diego Martin. While the entire country is under a state of emergency, only citizens in these areas will be required to remain off the streets between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am.
“I have said that on numerous occasions,” Sandy said. No amendments to the orders published on Monday have been issued, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan also added to make things even clearer. He assured that if there was a change, it would have to be formally published for the public to be informed and that he would also make an announcement in that eventuality.
On the issue of curfew permits, Sandy revealed that persons have been arrested for the illegal photo-copying of permits and warned of the consequences of this.
“There are people out there photo-copying permits,” the minister said. “It is illegal to so do, as the permit itself directs you. If you are doing that you will be doing that at the risk of being arrested.”
Sandy urged citizens to heed the curfew hours and to not engage in frivolous risks.
“Do not leave home to go take money for your mother,” he said, citing one case of a person arrested for breaching the curfew orders. “A thing like that could be done at 5.05 am. It is not urgent.”
For persons who have medical emergencies, he asked citizens to head to hospitals but to also take precautions in so doing.
“If there is an emergency and someone is ill, go to the hospital,” he said. “But seek out law enforcement operators. You may stop them so that they know what you are doing.”
Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj said the Defence Force continued foot and mobile patrols as well as stop and search exercises at Beetham; Morvant; Cocorite; Laventille; St Augustine; Chaguanas and Marabella.
There were 13 arrests by the Defence Force in relation to gang-related crimes, 13 in relation to drug-trafficking; one person was held for possession of fake army clothing; fifteen rounds of 9mm ammunition and three rounds of .38mm ammunition were also seized. Noting that 172 police corporals were yesterday afternoon made corporals, Sandy took the opportunity to congratulate the Police Service.
“I want to embrace this opportunity to congratulate them and to thank members of the Defence Force,” Sandy said of ongoing efforts.
“I always embrace any opportunity I get to thank them because I know what they are going through because I have been there,” he added. “I have been there and I know the conscientiousness that exists.” To the population at large, Sandy noted there may be inconvenience but he said it was for a clear purpose of ridding communities of crime. “We are trying to save you from yourselves,” he said.