An escalation of gun violence in Trinidad and Tobago, which has left 11 people dead over the past 48 hours last week has promoted the government to call a limited state of emergency.
On Sunday night Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar declared a limited state of emergency in “hot spots” across the country which took effect from midnight.
A curfew has also been put in place from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Persad-Bissesar said there was a need to implement strict conditions because of the crime spree where 11 persons were killed in just 48 hours.
“The current crime spree dictates that more must be done and stronger action to be employed now. The situation cannot continue like this without a response commensurate with the wanton acts of violence and lawlessness, it must be a response as well that we halt the current spike in gang activity and crime in general in the shortest possible time,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said that the state of emergency was agreed to by the Cabinet and National Security Council because “the limited state of emergency, pursuant to Section 8:1 of our constitution and Section 8:2, will take effect from midnight. The limited state of emergency will allow us to achieve a number of things in relation to crime reduction, which would not be prudent for me to disclose in advance of action taken.”
The prime minister expressed confidence that the state of emergency would be successful in the government’s war against crime.
The regulations, she said will constrict or restrict the ambit of the emergency powers being exercised by the police and the military.
Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley described the declaration of the limited state of emergency as a panic in response to a situation that the government tried to deny existed.
He said the government had sought to convince the country that crime was on the decline.