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POS Riot Leads To Health Centre Closures, Poor School Attendance

TRINIDAD – Express

Observatory Street, Port of Spain earlier on Monday. Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

The roads in east Port of Spain were reopened after police officers took control and ended the fiery protest action by residents following the shooting death of Akeil James, also known as “Christmas”.

Killed by police: Akile “Christmas” James

Senior Superintendent Floris Hodge Griffith confirmed that the police and defence force used equipment from the Port of Spain City Corporation to clear the roadways.

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Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez has also arrived at the scene.

In an interview on I95.5FM, Griffith said there was no reason to avoid east Port-of-Spain as the roads were opened for traffic. She said police would also remain in the area to ensure safety.

Griffith added that police have also received footage of a garbage truck dumping garbage on the roadway and would be pursuing the matter.

She said reports of Lady Young Road, Morvant, being blocked were false. “There were attempts by residents to block the Lady Young Road. But police responded and that was averted. There is no reason for persons to avoid coming into Port of Spain,” she said.

The Health Ministry, however, stated that three health centres in the area would remain closed.

The Upper Laventille, Oxford Street and George Street health centres have been closed for the day.

A release from the Ministry of Health stated that the health centres were closed due to “current security concerns”.

All persons with clinic appointments would be rescheduled. Members of the public have been asked to access care at other health facilities.

The police killing sparked the protest with some residents blocking roads with debris, and taunting police officers who fired shots in an attempt to bring the volatile face-off under control.

The protesters were incensed that the police had killed resident Akeil James, also known as “Christmas”. Officers say he died early on Monday in a shootout with police at Calvary Hill.

James was a suspect in the January 26 killing of prison officer Devendra Boodooram on the streets of Port of Spain.

During the protest, residents stopped a garbage truck and instructed the driver to deposit the garbage in the middle of the street.

Several roads were blocked as residents claimed that James was executed by the officers.

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