Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, January 3, 2015
National Security Minister
Gary Griffith says everything is
in place for Carnival 2015.
His announcement follows a
detailed threat assessment by the
National Ebola Prevention, Infor-
mation and Response Team
(NEPIRT), which is headed by Vice
Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier
During a media briefing at the
National Operations Centre, Port-
of-Spain, yesterday, Griffith said,
"I wish to inform the public that
there is a full green light for Car-
nival 2015 as at this time, and
based on the very good work we
have seen by this committee."
He assured citizens that the
Ebola situation had been "properly
locked down at this time."
Griffith added: "All concerns
have been dealt with and during
the course from now until Carni-
val, all matters to ensure that T&T
will be Ebola free will continue."
Following Griffith s statement,
Phillips-Spencer confirmed that
the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) risk
for T&T continued to be low.
He said the land-based early
warning surveillance programme s
design was now complete,
enabling its use at all major car-
Phillips-Spencer said in addition
to improving screening at all legal
ports of entry, site readiness sur-
veys had been done at both the
airports and seaports. He added
that officials were prepared to effi-
ciently respond to any probable
or confirmed case of EVD and
effectively contain its spread.
Referring to the public campaign
blitz which was done between
December 15 and 19, 2014, to edu-
cate citizens about the virus,
Phillips-Spencer said NEPIRT was
moving ahead with its prepared-
He revealed that the Ministry
of Health had recently acquired
20 hand-held thermal scanners
and all port health workers were
currently being trained, so that by
January 12, "All persons entering
T&T may, based on intelligence
and information, be required to
submit themselves to thermal
Promising an increase in the
public awareness campaigns over
the coming weeks, Phillips-
Spencer urged the public to utilise
the hotline numbers of 511 in
Trinidad, and 211 in Tobago, to
report any information.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr
Clive Tilluckdharry said the iso-
lation ward at the Caura Hospital
was prepared and work was being
done daily to ensure that both the
staff and physical facilities were
Griffith says T&T Carnival will be Ebola-safe
Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, left, greets newly appointed NCC
Chairman Lorraine Pouchet following yesterday's press conference to announce
security plans for Carnival 2015 at the National Operation Centre, Port-of-Spain.
Looking on is Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj, second from right,
and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
NCC: CARNIVAL ROUTE TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON
Happy with Griffith's
announcement, chairman of the
National Carnival Commission,
Lorraine Pouchet, said the
Queen's Park Savannah was the
hub of all carnival activities in
Port-of-Spain, and as such,
additional cameras had been
installed to provide adequate
security surveillance since it was
a Venue Operating Centre (VOC).
Pouchet said although the
official Carnival route had not
yet been determined after
meetings with bandleaders,
constituents and burgesses it
should be announced within one
As Griffith sought to assure the
public that all systems were in place
for Carnival 2015, he spoke of the
successful security measures
during last year's celebrations.
"In 2014, most persons, if not all,
had admitted that because of the
good work, dedication and
operational success that we have
seen, that T&T's Carnival was
recognised as the safest Carnival in
history," Griffith said.
"We intend to emulate that feat
in 2015 and even go beyond that,"
Griffith said. He said the National
Operations Centre (NOC) would co-
ordinate a plan which would focus
on all-inclusive fetes, band-
launchings, private events and even
He urged fete promoters, band-
leaders and coordinators to contact
the NOC to discuss the event they
wish to hosted, so security
arrangements could be determined.
Griffith said a threat assessment
would then be made and a decision
taken about the measures required
to ensure the well-being of citizens
attending an event.
Persons can contact the NOC at
623-5202 or 624-5316.
Dubbed "Operation ALERT---All
Levels Extremely Responsible and
Together,"---this year's security
arrangements will be handled by
Deputy Police Commissioner Harold
Phillip who has been assigned as
the Gold Commander, with ACP
Stephen Ramsubhag being
assigned as the alternate.
Acting Police Commissioner
Stephen Williams said the men had
been selected on the basis of their
involvement in last year's security
plan, and he was confident that
they would raise this year's
arrangements to new heights.
Williams said all police officers
had been placed on the alert and
that leave had been restricted, as
had been done in previous years.
"We expect to have adequate
manpower available to effectively
police Carnival 2015," Williams said.
Following recent incidents
involving officers which might have
undermined public confidence,
Williams reminded officers to act in
a professional manner always when
dealing with members of the public.
Griffith echoed Williams'
confidence in the officers, as he
boasted that 2014 had proven to
be the year with the lowest
number of serious crimes recorded
in 31 years.
Declaring this a "fantastic
achievement," Griffith said the
facts showed that there had been a
25 to 80 per cent decline in serious
crimes in the last five years.
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