$179,000 in face mask fines so far

Some $179,000 in fines have been incurred by the public since the T&T Police Service began enforcing the face mask law last Friday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Jayson Forde confirmed how many people had been charged under the law recently implemented to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus during the T&T Police Service press briefing at the Police Administration building in Port-of-Spain yesterday.

“So far, I can give you mask wearings, from last week Friday to present, 179 have been charged so far. What I want to impress is that is 179 multiplied by $1,000. So I want really to exalt to the population, because as uncomfortable as it might be, study those thousand dollars that you have to expend just because you want to be rebellious,” Forde said.

The Deputy Commissioner also confirmed that up to yesterday, over 80 police recruits out of the 198 housed at the Police Academy in St James had tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, the TTPS confirmed that 32 recruits had tested positive for the virus, with the Ministry of Health confirming a further 43 in its morning release yesterday.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, however, defended keeping the St James Barracks open, despite it being listed as a learning institution which, under the public ordinance, should be closed during this pandemic period.

“It was an essential service and we got the relevant and requisite permission from the Ministry of National Security,” said Griffith.

“The Ministry of National Security gave us permission to train our police officers. For instance, we are about to launch the Coastal and Patrol Marine Unit. But the ordinance says you’re not supposed to go in the water.

“But we need that training for our officers to get that unit out as quick as possible to secure our borders. So certain exceptions will be made. But when we make the request we must adhere to the regulations outside of that,” Griffith said.

The top cop also rubbished claims that the reduced crime statistics were due to the pandemic, as he noted that during such events, traditional drivers of criminal activity such as unemployment have increased.

The TTPS recorded reductions in murders and violent and sexual crimes up to August 2020, in comparison to the same period last year. White-collar crime reports were also reportedly down for the same period.

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