Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith.

Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has warned against breaching the COVID-19 Public Health Ordinance Regulations by using virtual Carnival fetes as an opportunity to have a mass gathering.

In an official statement issued today, Commissioner Griffith reminds T&T that effective October 12, 2020, public gatherings of up to ten persons are being allowed.

Pointing to what he says is “the upsurge of Virtual Carnival fetes, which are being planned to turn into mass gatherings by a few”, the top cop warns that the police would have to intervene if the regulations are breached.

“These virtual Carnival events, if not controlled, would yet again be a cause for the virus to spread,” the Commissioner warns, “as some who are either irresponsible, or see an opportunity to make a profit, are planning to get unto the site of these virtual events and set up large screens with powerful sound systems, even in their own back yards, then to have cover charges, or bring a bottle etc, and to have others view the event, and be entertained at such venues, hence turning it into a Carnival fete.”

He stated: “This is where the TTPS would yet again intervene, not to be the Grim Reaper of Carnival, but merely to do our job to ensure that the Regulations are not breached and that persons act responsibly.”

In the release, the Police Commissioner says he understands “the rationale of these virtual Carnival events being planned, primarily as an avenue to provide funds for certain institutions to offset annual expenses, inclusive of schools”.

However, he is reminding all organizers and promoters of virtual Carnival fetes of the dangers that such planned events can have.  He also warns those who intend to use such feeds from these virtual events to invite many others to their private premises to view and participate in watching these virtual fetes.

“Such actions would be seen as Breaches of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations, as you would be turning your private premises into a public place and the Police would act accordingly,” he says.

Commissioner Griffith also addressed recent concerns raised about weddings.

“There is a very specific and scientific reason why the Ordinance made allowances for weddings, but with very clear guidance as to the requirements. One cannot compare a wedding with hundreds of guests, to a wedding with ten or twenty guests,” he says in the statement.

“We have absolutely no issue with the hosting of the smaller weddings, as we have seen an upsurge in this practice.  However, the higher the numbers, the higher the risk. And I want to remind the population, that we will enforce the laws, even if it means protecting you from yourself,” he asserts.

The top cop adds: “We are not alone in the ever-evolving fight to manage behaviours to decrease the spread.  However, what makes it more challenging is the continued push back, including the constant questioning of the enforcement of the Quarantine Act.  These laws have been drafted and are being enforced, not to frustrate anyone, but to save lives.  Our role is to enforce the law—it’s that simple.”