Friday, 30 December 2016

Night of Total Policing

Source: Newsday - Written by: JULIEN NEAVES - Friday, December 30 2016

AN ANIMAL welfare NGO has written to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams asking for a night of total policing tomorrow to crack down on the illegal use of fireworks. Animals 360 Foundation Incorporated founder Roger Marshall forwarded a copy of the letter which the organization wrote to Williams on December 6, to Newsday.

He reported that the letter was delivered by hand to the Commissioner though to date, they have not received an official response.

“Every year during the Divali and Old Year’s celebration our citizenry is inundated with explosions of fireworks, firecrackers, scratch bombs and the bursting of bamboo. While some may enjoy the sights and sounds of the explosions our elderly, our infirm, our infants and animals feel very differently,” the group wrote in its letter to Commissioner Williams.

“The practice is dangerous and the celebrations provide cover for other illegal events and cause accidents. Each season we learn of limbs being lost and other injuries to persons participating in, or simply being in the environs of, the celebrations.

For the elderly, infirm and infants the experience can lead to distress, panic and heart problems. Our animals become disoriented and run often causing accidents or themselves becoming lost or killed.” The letter stated that Sections 99 and 100 of the Summary Offenses Act (which address the use of fireworks) are not regularly enforced and the group asked that this legislation governing the use of fireworks be strictly enforced to ensure controlled and responsible use of fireworks to protect our elderly, infirm, infants and animals.

“We further ask that for this coming Old Years night (Saturday December 31, 2016) the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service promote and execute a night of total policing to protect our citizenry and animals from the unlawful discharge of fireworks.” Marshall, speaking yesterday during a telephone interview, said the citizenry face the problem that every time they call the police about fireworks they get no action. “Is year after year and the police don’t take it on,” he added. The organization is calling on people being disturbed by fireworks to call the police, give them the approximate area where the fireworks are being set off and then read the sections of the Summary Offenses Act for them.

The group is also calling on citizens to get the officer’s name and rank and time of the call and the approximate response time and if no action is taken make a report to the Police Complaints Authority.

Marshall said a problem in the past was that people who called the police about fireworks and received no assistance did not keep records and they therefore could not lodge complaints.

The group, in a position paper, also called for a total ban on all noise producing fireworks.

Failing this the group advised the sale of fireworks only to licensed individuals and approved by community police and that information relevant to the licence should be published in at least one national newspaper for two consecutive days and at least one calendar week before the approved date of activity.

Animals 360 Foundation was one of the stakeholders mentioned by Minister of Public Administration and Communications Maxie Cuffie in a release on Tuesday in which he reported that suggestions about the use of fireworks were being forwarded to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi as part of an anti- scratch bomb campaign.

AG Al-Rawi called on the police to enforce the law and for the public to do their part.

Marshall, however, said that they disagree with the impression presented by the Attorney General that the current law is sufficient. The group has called for the law to be amended but in the interim for the police to enforce the existing legislation.

Attempts to contact Commissioner Williams yesterday proved futile. The issue of illegal fireworks has returned to the fore after a grandmother, Sally Ann Cuffie, was seriously injured when a scratch bomb was thrown into a car in which she was travelling. Also on Saturday scratch bombs were thrown at former Housing Development Corporation managing director Jearlean John and her sister while the two were jogging around the Queen’s Park Savannah leading them to believe they were being shot at.

We give our total support to this call by Mr. Marshall's organization. Unfortunately, his plea to that bunch of lazy and incompetent TTPS Dunces led by Chief TTPS (DiK)Stephen Williams will go unheeded.

We speak from our experiences with the uniformed DiGs (Dunces in Grey) and the senior DiKs (Dunces in Khaki) from the St. James and Woodbrook Police Stations to whom our pleading calls for assistance and relief are routinely ignored and even jeered at when the fireworks and scratch bomb attacks begin.

The official response from the Dunces at the St. James Station is,

Their Woodbrook counterparts are a little less offensive but just as stupid and annoying with their,

And with all that, Chief DiK Stephen Williams remains as smug as a Chesire Cat with his dotish impish grin, taking false comfort in his mistaken belief that the Duncey Head TTPS officers he leads are "protecting and serving" the people.

We have a simple solution to this seasonal menace but we are constrained from sharing it publicly lest the same TTPS Dunces seek to charge us for incitement on the one hand, with the Children's Authority on the other hand labeling us "anti-child" and our solution "wicked".


  1. Cops: Zero tolerance on fireworks
    NEWSDAY>Sasha Harrinanan - Saturday, December 31 2016

    WELCOME news for those who have campaigned against the illegal use of fireworks, particularly during Divali and on New Year’s Eve. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is taking a “zero tolerance” approach to the issue.

    The TTPS is reminding fireworks users that the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02 section 99. (1) states, “Except as prescribed by Regulations under this Act, any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks within any town is liable to a fine of one thousand dollars.” “Furthermore section 99. (2) and sections 100 and 101 defines a ‘town’ to include the City of Portof- Spain, the City of San Fernando, and the Borough of Arima, and every part of the area within two miles of the boundaries of such City or of either of such Boroughs and also, any place or area declared by the Minister, by Order, to be a town or to be deemed to be included within a town for the purposes of the said sections,” the TTPS yesterday stated.

    This reminder comes almost one month after the NGO, Animals 360 Foundation Incorporated, wrote to Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, requesting a night of total policing to crack down on the illegal use of fireworks.

    This is something which can pose health risks to the elderly and sick as well as to dogs, whose hearing is much more sensitive than that of humans.

    Untold numbers of dogs runaway from home in an attempt to get away from the loud, unexpected explosions, with some dying of fright or after being hit by a vehicle while crossing roadways.

    The use of fireworks outside of towns and the sale of fireworks were also addressed by the TTPS in a statement issued yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Fireworks outside of towns: Section100 also states that any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks into, in, or upon any street not being in any town, or into, in, or upon any place being within sixty feet of the centre of any such street, is liable to a fine of four hundred dollars. Under the Explosives Act Chapter 16:02 explosives is defined among other things as “gunpowder, nitro-glycerine, dynamite, blasting powders, coloured fires and fireworks.

    Sale of Fireworks: In accordance with section 10. (1) of the Act no person other than a wholesale or retail dealer shall sell fireworks or offer or expose the same for sale without a licence.

    Subsection (2) states any person who contravenes the provisions of this section is liable to a fine of two thousand dollars. Trinidad and Tobago Police Service will be ensuring all places where the sale of fireworks takes place such persons are in possession of a licence to sell said devices. Anyone found in contravention of the law will be charged.

  2. In spite of all the shit-talk about police adopting a "zero tolerance approach" to the seasonal menace of fireworks and scratch bombs, there was no reduction tonight in the indiscriminate discharge of these instruments of distress.

    There was absolutely no enforcement of the Law in St. James tonight from 11:59pm to 1:30am. The Dunces at the St. James Police Station refused to answer their telephones and the 999 call center put callers on hold for as long as 20 minutes.

    The fireworks demons, facilitated by the laziness of St. James Police Officers, had a very enjoyable time torturing us.

    Police in this country????? Waste of blasted time!!!!

  3. Plenty Noise But No Arrests
    Yvonne Baboolal
    Published: Sunday, January 1, 2017

    Defying a crackdown on illegal fireworks, citizens across T&T played a New Year’s Eve cat and mouse game with the police, releasing scratch bombs and noisemakers to ring in 2017.

    Some citizens said it appeared the devices were noisier and the only difference from previous years was that instead of a prolonged night the period was shorter.

    Officials of the Animal 360 Foundation said they got reports of five dead dogs on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway between Valsayn and Trincity alone, adding they believed this unusually large number was related to fireworks use.

    “Tunapuna Pasea, very loud noises in the neighbourhood,” a resident posted on Animal 360’s Facebook page.

    “In Barataria, some difficult areas still difficult. The children in the area are using scratch bombs while the midnight firecrackers are going off incessantly from all directions. No police patrolling to catch them in the act,” another citizen posted.

    A Maloney resident told the T&T Guardian: “There was no decrease in fireworks up here this year. This year was quite annoying, even worse.

    “There was an upgrade in the potency of fireworks. Some burst so loudly the walls literally vibrated like it was a mini bomb blast.”

    An officer at the West End Station, asked if there was a decrease in the use of fireworks in that area, replied: “Absolutely not. In fact, there seems to have been a modification on the fireworks that bang out extremely loudly. They got louder.”

    He said officers from the station did patrols and road blocks and met people who complained about the noise but no official reports were made and there were no arrests.

    In the Sou Sou Land area of Carlson Field, an elderly couple complained that the fireworks noise was “worse this year”.

    The 68-year old wife said up to yesterday afternoon her ears still felt clogged from the noise.

    “My head is hurting. I didn’t sleep. They were going competition from house to house. They must have spent about $1/4 million in fireworks in this small village alone. I don’t know where people getting all this money to burn in this recession,”she said.

    Officers at the Longdenville police station said they got several noise reports but no one was detained in that area either.

    “They see the police vehicle miles away with its big, blue flashing lights,” said an officer who noted, though, that there seemed to have been a decrease in the amount of fireworks used.

    “It could have been fear of being charged. People would have been sceptical to buy them,” he said,

    Residents from other areas said there an improvement in the noise intensity and amount of fireworks being released, while police officers claimed it was quiet in some areas. Officers at the St Barb’s Police Post in Laventille said no one complained about noiseand no arrests were made. A Valencia police officer said: “It was quiet here. No detainees.” Arima police said they had “some complaints” but no one was detained.

    Roger Marshall, founder of the Animal 360 Foundation, said: “Last night (New Year’s Eve) was very bad but it was not an entire night of prolonged explosions. It was a shorter period.”

    He said Animal 360 got reports of the police stopping and warning people and driving through areas. He said his NGO will be hand delivering recommendations for strengthening fireworks legislation to Attorney General Faris al Rawi early tomorrow morning.

  4. We have a simple solution to this seasonal menace but we are constrained from sharing it publicly lest the same TTPS Dunces seek to charge us for incitement on the one hand, with the Children's Authority on the other hand labeling us "anti-child" and our solution "wicked".

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