ACP Collis Hazel
TOBAGO CARNIVAL gold commander ACP Collis Hazel says the police will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to crime during the upcoming festival, which takes place from October 27-29.
He made the statement on Tuesday while addressing a news conference at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
The briefing came after a stakeholders’ meeting, which included THA Secretary of the Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation Tashia Burris, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency, members of the police and fire service and carnival practitioners.
Hazel warned those prone to criminal behaviour that the police would be out in their numbers during J’Ouvert celebrations on October 28.
“We are saying to all persons, we know carnival brings with it opportunities for revelry. But we know that there are persons bent in doing crime and criminal activities who will want to try to ply their trade.
“May I say to you, now, loud and clear this is not the place for revelry with crime. The police has upped its human resource on the island and clearly, we will be operating zero tolerance to anyone who feel that they want to in any way be that person who wants to be under our control for the festival. We will be taking that opportunity in order to have you in our company if you want to ensure that you live the way of crime,” he said.
Hazel advised them to reconsider that intent.
“We invite you to this island to have a good time, take a good wine, take a good jam. But leave crime and criminality where it does not belong. And Tobago is the place we are saying we do not welcome that.”
Regarding the safety and security of citizens and visitors during the carnival, Hazel said Tobago has enough resources to man the island.
“We have sufficient is my response at this point in time and, of course, to do the work of the Ministry of National Security.”
But in an interview with reporters last Saturday at the Canaan/Bon Accord Multipurpose Facility, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine had said Tobagonians could expect to see additional police and army personnel during the festivities.
“A lot of them will be coming from Trinidad towards the end of the month. So we will have the manpower support that also includes mounted branch as part of the build out as well,” he said.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Hazel said the police contacted some 37 stakeholders, over the past three months, to prepare for the carnival.
He added they are satisfied with how the process has been managed.
“We are comfortable at this point in time that our plans will be successful and in order to ensure that our plans are successful this morning (Tuesday) we executed a table top exercise looking at scenarios that are most likely to happen and exploring how we can lessen, reduce or mitigate such challenges.”
Hazel said the carnival would be monitored from a venue operations centre in Scarborough.
“I can safely say that the team is looking at Operation BLAST (Bringing Land Sea and Air Together). So all activities that you are thinking about that can happen whether it be in land, or in the sea for carnival, we will be there to ensure that they are properly monitored and that the police and all its stakeholders are dealing with them.”
Outside of carnival, he said the police would maintain regular patrols throughout the various districts during the period.
News Courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: Corey Connelly