Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has asked his lawmen to ‘exercise discretion’ as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) attempts to manage ‘adjusted curfew hours’ on the Indian Arrival Day and Corpus Christi holidays, which fall on Monday 31 May and Thursday 3 June respectively.
Only essential workers are permitted to be on the roads from 10am on the holiday to 5am on the following day, however Griffith noted that the new schedule—passed this weekend on the orders of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley—can affect essential workers who did not previously need or apply for curfew passes.
“The commissioner recognises that there will be those essential workers going to or returning from shift duty without curfew permits,” stated a TTPS statement today “Such [essential] workers include (though are not necessarily limited to) the media, private security officers, healthcare workers, sea and airport workers and energy sector workers.
“Employers are also encouraged to provide letters, if possible, to these employees. These letters will be acceptable even if electronic.
“[…] Should provision of this additional support document not be possible for Monday, the commissioner has asked police officers to exercise their discretion and, as far as possible, to ensure essential workers are allowed to go to and return from work.”
Persons already in possession of curfew permits can apply them to the adjusted curfew hours. Griffith noted that only 13,000 permits were granted from 380,000 requests.
The TTPS also said officers will be prepared to accommodate citizens on the road under certain special circumstances.
“Persons seeking urgent medical treatment or with critical care appointments such as dialysis treatment, or those attending already scheduled funerals should explain to officers where they are going,” stated the TTPS. “Officers have been advised to accommodate persons in such cases.
“The commissioner notes that he has briefed officers who will be conducting road exercises on Monday and Thursday between 10am – 5am, to ticket, charge, or clear persons on a case by case basis.”
Griffith said he also received inquiries ‘from persons including owners of livestock, persons who have to feed the elderly, and those with emergencies’.
“These persons, along with those who have to go to the airport for an early morning flight or any other persons with a legitimate emergency, [should] contact the Operational Command Centre at 480-2000 or 612-3876 for the necessary clearance,” stated the police commissioner.
Commercial fishing will be permitted on the holidays, despite the amendment to the state of emergency regulations—but ‘pleasure crafts’ will not.
“The movement of pleasure crafts during the holiday curfew hours is strictly prohibited,” stated the TTPS. “If boats are anchored at homes ‘down the islands’ by 10am, they will have to remain at those homes until 5am [on] Tuesday morning and likewise for Thursday into Friday.
“The CoP says if you do not fall within the categories mentioned above, then you would have no right to be on the streets or waterways during the curfew period. He asks that persons with no legitimate business during this period, remain at home.
“Please note that these adjustments are applicable to the holiday curfew days only.”
The clarification from the TTPS appeared to have come too late to save vaccinations scheduled for Monday and Thursday, as the Ministry of Health announced that it has postponed all appointments as a result of the new curfew times.
The Ministry of Education advised teachers that their holiday vaccination appointments should be facilitated on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday instead.
“The Ministry of Education wishes to advise of the rescheduling of the vaccination appointments of Ministry of Education (MoE) staff,” stated a MoE release. “This has become necessary due to the curfew hours on Indian Arrival Day (Monday 31 May 2021) and Corpus Christi (Thursday 3 June 2021) outlined in the Emergency Powers (No 2), Regulations Legal Notice No 176.
“All MoE staff appointments will be rescheduled to Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd and Friday 4th June 2021. All MoE staff with previously confirmed vaccination appointments will be contacted to confirm the details of their new appointment date.”