A party promoter has signalled his intention to sue the State over the actions of a group of fire officers, whom he claims have been attempting to sabotage his events.
In a pre-action protocol letter sent to permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Security Lydia Jacobs, lawyers representing Gregory Cedeno revealed that he is considering filing a lawsuit for harassment and tortious interference following incidents at two Carnival fetes, last month.
According to the letter, the first incident occurred on January 13 at an event held at the Government Campus Plaza in downtown Port-of-Spain.
Cedeno claimed that three officers caused an unnecessary interruption at the event.
The following day, there was a second incident at Cedeno's IUP Cooler Fete at Five Islands Amusement Park in Chaguaramas.
At that event, another group of officers, including one from the previous night, ordered the gates closed even though there were patrons outside with legitimate tickets.
"Cedeno instructs that the conduct of the aforementioned officers were egregious and their actions can only be perceived as a concerted attempt to undermine Cedeno in his professional capacity as a promoter," attorney Keith Scotland said, as he claimed that the action directly affected patrons' enjoyment of the event.
Scotland maintained that at both events, his client was compliance with the liquor and dancehall licences granted by the Licensing Committee for St George West.
He suggested that the officers were acting outside of the regulations governing public events and were "on a frolic of their own".
As part of the letter, Scotland requested that the officers cease and desist from engaging in similar conduct at Cedeno's future events.
Scotland gave the ministry two weeks in which to respond to the letter but warned that his client would seek an injunction if his demands are not met.
Cedeno's legal letter comes almost a week after the T&T Fire Service issued a release over party promoters allegedly breaching fire safety rules at events.
While the release did not identify any promoter or event directly, it stated that several patrons were turned away from events due to overcrowding.
"In recent times, the T&T Fire Service has been forced to close the gates at events as a result of the blatant disregard to the provisions under the license, particularly pertaining to the capacity submitted by the promoter to the Licensing Committee, and granted by the Magistrate," it said.
"These contraventions directly affect the fire/life safety coverage provided by the Fire Service since the capacity of the venue is one of the factors for determining the number of fire officers to be deployed and in turn, how effectively the Fire Service can carry out its functions in the event of any untoward occurrence," it added.
At a press conference at the Queen's Park Oval on Wednesday, members of the T&T Promoters Association (TTPA) complained that mandatory hiring of members of the protective services were costing them up to $150,000 per event.
While the Association admitted that it does not believe that there should be no police or fire officers at events, it said that there should be more discussion on the number of officers required.
Under the current licensing scheme police and fire officials unilaterally recommends the number of officers required for the event to the licensing committee.
Reporter: Derek Achong