The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service arrested 16 persons this morning under the Public Health (2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-Cov) Regulations, in what was described as a ‘Covid-19 quarantine party’ at the Alicia’s Guest House in Cascade.
The arrests were made at around 12.30am. Half of the persons held were Venezuelan—seven of whom were women, with one being 17-years-old.
“Some of the women were scantily dressed,” stated a TTPS release. “[They] were around the pool, displaying no form of social distancing, involving Spanish-speaking women conducting lewd dancing, and all breaching the regulations as it relates to more than five persons being assembled in the same area.”
The detainees were taken to the Besson Street, Four Roads and West End police stations for processing. If found guilty of holding public gathering of more than five persons for a ‘non-essential’ service, they are liable to a fine of TT$50,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said he was tipped off about the ‘party’ by members of the public—just hours after he specifically warned against such ‘events’ at a Health Ministry press conference on Thursday morning.
The police converged on the area in unmarked vehicles but believe the businessmen might have been alerted to their presence.
“Intelligence revealed that 50 businessmen were planning to attend a party at Alicia’s around 1am,” said Griffith, “but a marked police vehicle drove pass earlier and may have rattled the promoters. As a result, [the police] had to move in earlier than planned.
“[…] With the assistance of the CID and the Emergency Response Patrol (ERP), the 16 persons were transported to the three police stations as further investigations continue. Two of the persons were found to be in possession of keys for the premises. The owners of the property will also be brought in for questioning.”
Griffith suggested that the local promoters were copying similar quarantine parties held in cities like New York and in the UK.
“If you did not hear, then you would feel,” said Griffith. “No more warnings. I have informants throughout the country, and we would turn up when these people least expect it.
“We anticipated this, as there are similar fools in other countries doing same. There were reports of similar quarantine parties held in cities, such as New York where a number of people died from the virus as a result of attending such parties. Hundreds of similar parties have been shut down in UK on a nightly basis.
“[…] We expected promoters here would try to do the same thing. As I said at the media conference, this health crisis is a ticking time bomb and now is not the time to drop our guard or become complacent.”
Griffith thanked the public for alerting him. Persons who see lawless activity are urged to call 555, or send to messages—inclusive of photographs and videos—to the Police App, or via whats app to 482-GARY.