CRACKDOWN

 Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds M.P. meets with the Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, other members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Executive and Divisional Commanders of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

Newly-appointed Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds was welcomed today to the Ministry of National Security by Permanent Secretaries (Ag.) Mr. Gary Joseph and Ms. Nataki Atiba-Dilchan.

Minister Hinds was briefed by the Permanent Secretaries, then got straight to business by representing the Ministry in a COVID-19 Response Virtual Meeting hosted by the Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, which included the Ministry of Health. He then participated in the Ministry of Health’s Virtual Media Conference.

Immediately after, the Minister hosted a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, other members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Executive and Divisional Commanders at the National Operations Fusion Centre, Knowsley Building, Port of Spain.

The meeting focused on the role of law enforcement agencies to enforce the COVID-19 Public Health Regulations. Minister Hinds stated that action will be taken over the next three-week period to ensure that laws are properly followed and enforced. He indicated that each Police Division will have an enforcement team, which will report daily on their operations.

Minister Hinds will soon meet with Heads of the Defence and Protective Services and other key officials of the Ministry, to receive an update on anti-crime strategies currently being pursued by the various National Security Agencies and discuss the way forward in executing the Ministry’s mandate.

Minister Hinds recalled his previous experience at the Ministry of National Security and welcomed the opportunity to lead the Ministry forward in the fight against crime and in bolstering the safety and security of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

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The Covid-19 death toll jumped again yesterday, with five added deaths being reported by the Ministry of Health.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 196.

The latest deaths included one elderly male and one middle-age male, both with co-morbidities; as well as two middle-age males and one middle-age female, without co-morbidities.

Pandemic tears.

Both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday confessed to being reduced to tears in the face of their “disappointment” over “the response of the national community to pandemic restrictions” and the tragic consequences that flow from it.

The Government deepened and tightened its containment measures from midnight last night, announcing that with the exception of essential services the country goes into extended lockdown until May 23.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the Government to engage all stakeholders to form a united front to fight Covid-19.

“This is a time for humility and not a time for arrogance. The UNC and many stakeholders have been trying to assist since the beginning of this crisis, but the Government has pursued its own way,” Persad-Bissessar stated in a news release yesterday.

A gift of 100,000 vaccines from China will make its way to Trinidad and Tobago from next week, says Health Minister Terrence Deyal­singh.

He added that some 33,600 AstraZeneca vaccines will also be arriving at Piarco on Monday from the COVAX facility.

Speaking yesterday at the Prime Minister’s news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Deyalsingh noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given approval to the Sino­pharm vaccine for emergency use.

NATIONAL flags across the country will be flying at half-mast today as former minister of energy and energy industries Franklin Khan is laid to rest.

Khan’s funeral will be held from 10 a.m. at Aramalaya Presbyterian Church in Tunapuna, with only ten people at the service in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.