CASCADE – SIXTEEN people including eight Venezuelans have been arrested during a raid of a Covid-19 quarantine party in Cascade early on Good Friday morning.
A release from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) on Friday stated that Police Commissioner Gary Griffith received information from one of his informants and he led a team of officers from the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) to Alicia’s Guest House, Cascade.
The release stated, “Around 12.30 am, the police team moved in and held the 16 persons around the pool area.
“Of the eight Venezuelans, seven were women, with one being 17 years-old. Some of the women were scantily dressed.
“The detainees were taken to three police stations – Besson Street, Four Roads and West End for processing. The 16 were in breach of Regulations of the Public Heath Ordinance, implemented in March to fight the deadly Covid-19 virus.”
Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual news conference on Thursday, Griffith said the police were aware of a number of Covid-19 parties planned over the Easter Weekend.
He said the police would be looking to see if cars were parked in front of houses and asked the public to report any loud music or noises in their communities.
Griffith said there would be many roads blocks and after pharmacies were closed at 8 pm, people found outside would have to have good reasons.
The release on Friday stated, “Intelligence revealed that 50 businessmen were planning to attend a party at Alicia’s around 1 am. But a marked police vehicle drove pass earlier and may have rattled the promoters.”
As a result, the release stated Griffith and his team had to move in earlier than planned.
“They arrived at Alicia’s in unmarked vehicles and were able to find the 16 persons around the pool, displaying no form of social distancing, involving Spanish speaking women conducting lewd dancing and all breaching the regulations as it relates to more than five persons being assembled in the same area.
“With the assistance of the CID and the Emergency Response Patrol (ERP), the 16 persons were transported to the three police stations as further investigations continue. Two of the persons were found to be in possession of keys for the premises.”
The owners of the property will also be brought in for questioning.
Griffith said “If you did not hear, then you would feel. No more warnings. I have informants throughout the country and we would turn up when these people least expect it. We anticipated this, as there are similar fools in other countries doing same.“There were reports of similar quarantine parties held in cities, such as New York where a number of people died from the virus as a result of attending such parties. Hundreds of similar parties have been shut down in UK on a nightly basis.“We know of copycats so we expected promoters here would try to do the same thing.
As I said at the media conference, this health crisis is a ticking time bomb and now is not the time to drop our guard or become complacent.”
Griffith said this type of action will not be tolerated and he thanked the public for informing about Friday’s event.
The release noted that according to Section 3 (1) of the Public Health (2019) Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)(No 7) Regulations 2020, where the number of persons gathered at any time exceed five, on summary conviction, persons are liable to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for six months.