Trinidad – Alfonso: Carnival security boosted
PORT OF SPAIN – National Security Minister Carl Alfonso says people can enjoy themselves and have a ball as law enforcement will be out in full force to provide protection for Carnival.
The newly appointed minister, who replaced Gary Griffith, also expressed optimism that all officers would come out to work despite their issues over salary negotiations with the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO).
Alfonso was speaking yesterday at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair.
“Have a ball, have a good time, and enjoy yourself,” said Alfonso, adding that security for Carnival was discussed at the National Security Council meeting with the Commissioner of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff and the executive director of the National Operations Centre (NOC) and they all assured him things are going to be “much better than they were last year”.
“I am pleased to assure you that we hope to have an extremely safe and secure Carnival,” said Alfonso.
“Everything is in place, everybody is raring to go, there may have been some hiccups, you might have heard that the police service association were having their own little challenges and they may take some action,” he said.
He said he was to meet with secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association, Insp Michael Seales, yesterday to have a talk before the association meets with the acting Police Commissioner today.
“All I want to do at this stage is to have a nice little chat, a pleasant chat with members of the executive,” said Alfonso.
The minister said he was confident officers would come out to work.
“The optimist that I am I don’t think they are going to stay away. I don’t want to stick my head out too far but I have this feeling that they will not stay away. I wasn’t given that assurance by anybody but that’s just how I feel. If they do stay away, which I am sure they wouldn’t, I am sure there are things in place to address that,” he said.
Turning to the issue of the use of glass bottles, Alfonso said no law was passed to ban usage during the Carnival period but it will be on the cards for discussions.
He said it’s a noble idea but more consultation was needed.
“For Carnival 2015, feel free to drink from your bottle and carry your bottles of whatever you drink. I am an optimist and I always have been and I always feel things are going to get better,” he said.
“I don’t really cater for anything going wrong, if things go wrong then I deal with it,” he added.
He disclosed that as a former soldier he never got to enjoy Carnival Tuesday as he was always working but this did not bother him because he was doing what he was trained to do.
“There is the odd soldier and sailor and airman and policeman who feels he or she ought to be on Ariapita Avenue with Bliss and Tribe and whoever else doing what you all do naturally in your fancy costumes and so on,” he said adding that the public should spare a thought for law enforcement officers on duty during Carnival.