DOMA: Many unanswered questions about threat to disrupt Carnival

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) says the populations has been left in unease and vagueness following a statement by the police about a threat to disrupt Carnival.

DOMA issued a statement Friday saying that several questions have been left unanswered by the police.

The following is DOMA's statement:

"Members of the downtown business community have reacted in generally the same way as all other citizens regarding the disclosure yesterday afternoon by the TTPS that a credible threat to disrupt Carnival has been detected.
 
That information has been combined with the following other information;
1.       Security Alerts to foreign nationals issued by the three largest embassies in Trinidad and Tobago
2.     News of raids, arrests and interrogations at various locations.
3.     News of continuing active operations by the TTPS to prevent the disruption of Carnival.
 
The above described scenario has had an extremely disquieting effect on all citizens.
 
Communication officer ASP Jackman was competent in his roll of deflecting the searching questions asked by the media and could only offer generic advice to the public  that we should remain vigilant and report suspicious activity.

We wish to take this opportunity to respectfully point out that the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have, by and large been raising the level of alertness and vigilance constantly over the past seventeen years.

What we need to know is whether part of that vigilance should include cancelling our Carnival plans? 

In fact, the effect of the above combined information is inconclusive and leaves the population in a state of greater unease by its vagueness and opacity.

We should not be promoting uncertainty.
 
On the eve of our national celebration the authorities have basically set the proverbial “cat amongst the pigeons”.
 
This association is of the view that having decided to make a public statement and having told embassies of the credible threat to Carnival, we the citizens are entitled to know more details in an effort to allow us to make more informed decisions about our personal safety.
 
Legitimate questions which are being asked include;

1.     Is there still a threat to Carnival?
2.     Was the “credible threat” perceived to be against the carnival in general or specific targets?
3.     Is the threat specific to foreign nationals or to all participants?
Answers to these type of questions and other more specific information would normally be forthcoming in an effort ally the fears of the population.
 
The record will show our long history of wanting to make a constructive contribution to the upliftment of national affairs in many areas. This has always included support for the national security effort. We however consider the dissemination of partial"half-baked" information regarding the threat to disrupt Carnival to be more damaging than helpful.
 
The skeptics among us are already claiming that this is merely an attempt by the TTPS to “shine its own armor” and while we do not support this view we cannot ignore how widely held a view it is.
 
Without the provision of enough information for the public to decide for themselves whether their safety is at risk a predictable negative effect on our festival will take place.
Uncertainty and lack of confidence is already in enough abundant supply in many, many other areas of our national life and should not be allowed to also damage the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival."

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