Trinidad: No Major Disruptions For Carnival, Says CoP

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – The Minister of National Security and the heads of the various arms of the country’s national security apparatus gave themselves a cautious pat on the back yesterday, as up to last night no major incidents were reported to disrupt the country’s “Mother of All Carnivals”.

The heads of all of Trinidad and Tobago’s protective services briefly toured South Quay, Port of Spain, yesterday morning headed by National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

Among them were the newly installed Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher, acting Prisons Commissioner Deopersad Ramoutar, Vice-Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier General Dexter Francis and Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristow.

“Carnival has been safe thus far with no major incident and I want to thank all my officers for their outstanding performance,” said Harewood-Christopher.

Wearing the police’s camouflage operational wear while face-masked, the Police Commissioner looked like any of her officers on the field and had to be pointed out to the media by her communications team headed that day by Insp Michelle Lewis.

“She’s right behind you,” she indicated.

Asked about a report that some officers would not have reported for duty given their misgivings about the recent acceptance of the Government’s four per cent wage offer Harewood-Christopher said this was not the case.

“No…not at all…Police are out in their numbers and all areas are covered so we have had no problems with attendance,” she said.

She explained that, as is customary, police officers were called out from vacation to be part of the Carnival security blanket.

“Yes. Leave was restricted and officers who were on vacation were required to report for duty and they did,” said Harewood-Christopher.

Prisons Commissioner Ramoutar also reported that, unlike most of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation’s prisons were calm.

“We have had full attendance yesterday and I want to compliment my officers as the prisons are quite calm and all in order,” he said.

Brigadier General Francis also had nothing untoward to report, going on to praise his men and women for the role they played in helping to keep Carnival safe.

“The Defence Force is out in their full numbers and supporting the police in each police division both in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Outlining how their operations work for Carnival, Brigadier General Francis said:

“Soldiers respond to the call for assistance by members of the TTPS so in that regard, any authority that soldiers carry out, they carry out on the behest of the TTPS. The soldiers will allow the police to do their job and we provide a safe and secure environment for the police to do so. In every police division in Trinidad and Tobago there are join patrols,” he said.

Hinds ‘quite sanguine’

Meanwhile, the National Security Minister said he is pleased with the presence of the national security team and the work of members of the protective services for Carnival 2023.

“Thus far and behalf of all of us, I am quite sanguine…quite happy so far,” said Hinds.

“I’ve had an opportunity to see even the morning’s report and it is reflecting just as the Commissioner of Police, the CDS, Prisons Commissioner and CFO have reported that in terms of safely and security, so far it appears that the systems are in place and they have been working,” he added.

The Minister assured that tourists who visited this year will return given the level of security provided.

“I saw many tourists playing in the band behind us and they are here because they want to support our economy and support our Carnival festivities…they deserve that, so we will provide them with happiness and protection. I am for the time being quite happy with the reports and there has been no shortfalls in terms of supplies to officers and their equipment,” he said.

Asked about his pick for Road March, Hinds replied “Engine Room…ah love it bad!”