The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has declared a limited state of emergency in several areas of in order to cope with a spiraling rate of violent crime.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the measures, which include an overnight curfew, will be enforced in certain hot spots as a “response commensurate with the wanton acts of violence and lawlessness ... that will halt the current spike in gang activity and crime in general in the shortest possible time.
Police will be given broader powers to make arrests and search suspects.
The rule will be applied to six areas and will last 15 days – this in response to eleven murders in just a few days. Persad-Bissessar said these killings were committed by drug gangs in retaliation for major seizures of narcotics valued at millions of dollars by police.
These large sums of money simply do not disappear from the drug trade without consequences, she said in a televised address.
The nation will not be held to ransom by marauding gangs of thugs bent on creating havoc on our society. The limited state of emergency in hot spots across Trinidad and Tobago is merely part of a larger aggressive reaction response by the government.
The opposition criticized the ruling.
Our initial thought is that this is a panic response which has not been the product of any serious deliberations, opposition leader Keith Rowley told local radio.
Located just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago comprised a little more than 1.3-million people, primarily of East Indian and African origin.