Cedric “Burkie” Burke

Sea Lots businessman and community leader Cedric “Burkie” Burke and over 60 other people who were arrested by police at an illegal gambling den in San Juan early last week are expected to make their first court appearance in September.

Burke and the other members of the group, who are accused of breaching COVID-19 public health regulations precluding gathering in groups of more than 10, were granted station bail by a Justice of the Peace, late last week, and were expected to make a virtual court appearance before a magistrate yesterday morning.

However, legal sources said that when the accused persons and their attorneys made their way to the Barataria Police Station, early yesterday morning, they were contacted by police officers of the Court and Process Branch, who informed them that their cases had been automatically adjourned to September 16.

According to reports, around 11 pm last Monday, officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) headed by Sgt Mark Hernandez received a tip-off and raided a building in San Juan that formerly housed a nightclub.

The officers arrested 61 men and seven women, who were gathered at the location and allegedly engaged in gambling. An illegal firearm was also allegedly recovered.

After their arrests, the individuals were taken to various police stations in north Trinidad, where they remained detained for several days.

The accused persons attempted to access station bail but were only facilitated after their attorneys threatened legal action over their protracted detention without appearing in court.

Burke and several of the persons were represented by attorney Richard Clarke-Wills.