May 1, 2021

PM Stands By Statement That Police Can Enforce Covid Rules On Private Property

By Newsroom

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley is once more appealing to the public to behave responsibly on their private properties- as he said statistics has proven such activity directly impacts the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement on Saturday, two days after he announced new restrictions to curb the rapid spread of the virus, Dr. Rowley said he has observed statements and criticisms from persons seeking to “nit-pick” his general statements of caution.

Specifically as it relates to his statement that police have the authority to enforce the Public Health regulations on private property, Dr. Rowley said: “I am duty-bound to point out that the laws of our country, including the Public Health Ordinance, the Public Health Regulations, the Police Service Act and other laws can, in certain specific circumstances, cover the enforcement and management of laws in private premises via public health officers with or without aid of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”

He highlighted Section 133 of the Public Health Ordinance which states: “133. For the purposes of this Part of this Ordinance, any person authorized to act under the provisions hereof or of any regulations made in pursuance of any authority contained in this Part of this Ordinance may at any time, with or without assistance—

(a)         enter on lands and buildings and inspect and examine the same and all things thereon or therein;

(b)         do on any land or in any building any sanitary or other work authorised or directed;

(c)          generally do, with respect to persons, places, land, building, animals, or things, whatever is necessary or expedient in order to carry out the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Ordinance, or any direction or requirement given or arising thereunder.

Dr. Rowley further noted that unlike other countries in the region, his government had not resorted to state of emergencies and curfews to curb the spread of the virus.

“For those of us who are directly affected, words are of little comfort and this is why the Government has expended billions in financial support which it cannot sustain indefinitely. We are striving to save lives until the relief of vaccines can give us herd immunity,” he saod.

“As Prime Minister I must take the advice of our medical experts and balance all interests. I must ensure that death sentences are not read to thousands by a failure to act and take hard and sometimes unpleasant decisions. For the next three weeks I am asking the population to limit their movement as best as is possible, including undertaking the task of cooking at home whilst restaurants and bars are temporarily closed,” he said.