... considers making curfew penalty stiffer

The curfew has been imposed in areas identified as crime hot spots in the country. At present, persons can be fined at least $684 under the law for breaking a curfew. The initial phase of the state of emergency ends on September 5.

“We have adopted a very mature, responsible, practical and common sense approach to the whole question of the curfew, because we know who we are targeting and it is the criminal elements,” Ramlogan said.

“But thus far, it seems as if they are not taking it seriously and in some cases we feel as if some of those lawless elements seem to want to slip under the radar and under the police net.

“In light of those reports, I am giving consideration to amending the curfew orders to introduce a stiffer penalty and fine for those who may wish to break the curfew and ignore the fact that we are in a state of emergency and seem to think they could take it for a joke.”

Ramlogan did not provide further details of the proposed action.

The AG also sent a stern warning to persons who may be aware of wrongdoing among family members.

“For those who are assisting the criminals, whether is grandma, grandpa, ajee or aja, if you know your grandson, your son, your daughter or your grand-daughter has been involved with the wrong crowd and has been involved in a life of crime, and you talked to them and you begged them and they wouldn’t change their ways, or you suspect that is your own flesh and blood, your belly child and you don’t want to put them behind bars.

“If you know they have visited you since the declaration of a state of emergency and they have stashed anything on your premises, underneath the bed, outside in the back porch, in the ceiling, on top the roof, in the fowl pen, please, now is the time to speak up, because as we intensify our efforts, having taken the gang leaders and the violent elements off the street, we are now going to be casting our net further. And if we find that you are in possession of illegal arms, ammunition or any illegal substances or implements, you will also be guilty of breaking the law and you will also be the subject of a criminal charge.”

He added, “Now is not the time to join a criminal conspiracy with anyone who is related to you. Now is the time for the girlfriends, the grandmothers, the mothers, the stepfathers, everyone who feel that they can turn a blind eye. If you knew or you ought to have known and you have turned a blind eye, or you have had your suspicions, rest assured that that will be a violation of the law.”

Ramlogan urged them, “Don’t drink medicine for other people fever, because when you in jail they might be watching and smiling with you outside and, trust me, they eh coming to bring so much as a cup of water for you in jail.”

Ramlogan, during the briefing, also took issue with the view by some that the law enforcement authorities should penetrate affluent areas in the country to make arrests. He said any such action must be based on credible evidence.

“There is equality under the law regardless of where a person lives,” he said.

Heartened that some 684 persons, including two high-profile gang members, have been detained since the beginning of the state of emergency last Sunday, Ramlogan claimed the nation was breathing a collective sigh of relief. He said the action had restored social equilibrium in the country to the point where many families were now eating dinner together.

The AG, however, admitted that intelligence-gathering at the level of the community remained a challenge. To this end, he said the Government intended to establish what he referred to as a virtual command centre dedicated exclusively to receiving information during the state of emergency.

Ramlogan made it clear though that the account must not be used be used to spread propoganda and to send law enforcement officers on wild goose chases.

“What we are now seeing is a revival, a rejuvenation whereby the public is feeling alive and they want to get involved and participate in the crime fighting efforts of the state, and it is our duty and responsibility to facilitate that and to have the machinery in place to receive that intelligence,” Ramlogan said.


"… considers making curfew penalty stiffer"

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