Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, said the TTPS did not close “El Pecos Marketplace” – however he reported that officers visited the premises of El Pecos Market Place, Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, this afternoon following a report received from the public health officials of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation.
Commissioner Griffith said. “when police officers arrived at the location, the place was already closed to the public, but there were customers and staff inside the building.”
The TTPS responded to a report from the public health officials who paid a visit earlier in the day and made certain observations.
As a result of the report, a team of officers from the TTPS, Port-of-Spain City Police, and the public health department, under ACP Yusuf Gaffar, Senior Supt Kelvern Thompson, Supt Arlene George, and Supt Baird, visited El Pecos and informed the owner of the business of the report.
The police officers conducted preliminary investigations to determine if there was any breach of the Public Health Regulations and the Emergency Powers Regulations 2021. Statements were recorded and items of evidential value were photographed.
The owner was also advised about the congregation outside El Pecos by members of the public around midday today.
WP Sgt De Gale is continuing inquiries.
The CoP advises members of the public of Section 133 of the Public Health Ordinance, Chapter 12 No. 4 and Emergency Power Regulations, 2021 which state the following:
Section 133 of the Public Health Ordinance
For the purposes of this Part of this Ordinance, any person authorized to act under the provisions hereof or of any regulation made in pursuance of any authority contained in this Part of this Ordinance may, at any time, with or without assistance:
(c) generally do, with respect to persons, places, land, buildings, animals, or things whatever is necessary or expedient in order to carry out the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Ordinance or any direction or requirement given or arising thereunder.
Regulation 6(1)(c) of the Emergency Power Regulations
The Commissioner of Police or a person authorized by him in that regard, may for the purposes of ensuring the protection of public health, public safety or to public order–
(c) require any person to quit any place or area or not to visit any place or area.
The CoP also reminds persons that they must social distance and wear their masks when accessing essential services and to avoid assembling in public, wherever possible. Moreover, he urges citizens to behave in a responsible manner to minimise the exposure and spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Further to the above, whilst police officers may not be able to arrest every citizen not observing the social distancing policy, or exceeding the prescribed numbers in public gatherings (five), it would be more practical and prudent to require the closure of these different institutions which appear not to have provided the proper safety mechanisms to be observed by persons waiting to access these businesses.