Twenty-six alleged partiers in Real Spring, Valsayn where among 36 persons arrested by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) over the last 24 hours for breach of the public health regulations, as lawmen attempt to enforce measures meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.
There have been 925 arrests for violation of the public health ordinance along with 298 arrests for breach of curfew, since Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a state of emergency on 15 May 2021.
The recent arrests in Valsayn occurred during an exercise conducted by acting inspectors Greene and Toorie and included officers of the St Joseph Police Station and St Joseph Criminal Investigations Department (CID), which ran between the hours of 7.30pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday according to the police.
The arrested men and women were said to range from 20 to 40-years-old and included six Venezuelans. They are ‘expected to be formally charged today’.
A 38-year-old man at the gathering was also arrested for possession of 0.4 grammes of cocaine.
The Valsayn case could lead to a test of the State of Emergency Regulations, which columnist and attorney Martin Daly SC suggested used ‘imprecise’ language.
“The regulations omit to state directly that the police are enabled to enter any place without a warrant for the purpose of enforcing the regulations,” stated Daly, in a Wired868 column. “This omission is surprising because of the prior and enduring public controversy on the subject of entry into private property. It is also strange that the drafters of the Emergency Regulations expressly provided in regulation eight for arrest without warrant but not for entry without warrant.
“I must repeat my concern that the government may have left us open to claims for damages, particularly if the police rely on the imprecise phrases set out in regulation eight—namely the action of a person ‘reasonably suspected’ to be acting ‘prejudicial to public health, public safety or public order’…”
The TTPS, according to a press statement, has conducted 53 road blocks and 447 patrols over the past 24 hours. There are 1,087 lawmen in quarantine at present while 262 officers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.