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Ancil Dennis

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis is calling on the owners of villas to be prepared to evict patrons hosting zesser parties on their properties and retain their security deposits.

This after Old Grange police was called to the scene of a party at a villa in Patience Hill, Tobago, on Sunday night.

Guardian Media understands that 126 persons at the venue were individually documented and will subsequently receive a summons to appear in court for breaching COVID-19 regulations.

The Chief Secretary called on the police to pay specific attention to the “zesser parties,” although legislation limits the kind of action that the police can take against persons found gathering in large numbers at private residences.

He also called on the owners of villas to include conditions in their contracts that would “discourage zessing on their properties.”

“Im also calling on owners of villas in Tobago in particular to be vigilant do not give permission to host parties at villas and once that permission is not given and persons go ahead and host these parties then villas owners and managers must be prepared to put these persons out of the villas and at the same time take their damage deposits.”

He said while there is some level of economic activity on the island for the sake of domestic tourism, its is still in a controlled manner as flight are limited and the number of seats on the sea bridge is still limited as well. He described the individuals who participate in “zesser” events as “foolish and irresponsible, because if there is a drastic increase in cases the country will have to move towards increasing restrictions again to save lives.

And while he says its unfortunate that the government and the police aren’t able to “police stupidity” the government has been saying that if the country is able to maintain the current trajectory in terms of managing the crisis and controlling the levels of infections, we could have school reopening in January, Dennis says a part of the population is being irresponsible.

“I don’t think these persons understand how selfish and irresponsible they are I don’t think they understand the education of their own children is at stake the Tobago economy is at stake, jobs are at stake and well beings of our brothers and sisters are also at stake.”

The Chief Secretary said that steps should be taken to ensure that those interested in breaking the law” get the point by ease or by force.”

Guardian Media contacted vice president of the Tobago Hotels and Tourism Association (THAT) Carolyn Birchwood James, for a comment on the Chief Secretary’s suggestion. She said while property owners are still “reeling from the fall out of the pandemic and they need the business.”

“Villas, guest house owners, and hoteliers must still be careful of who they conduct business with because COVID-19 is still with us.”

She said the Chief Secretary’s suggestion could be discussed when the association holds its next meeting.