On Saturday, January 6, 2018, officers from the Port-of-Spain City Police Multi-Operation Unit in collaboration with officers from the Special Investigation Unit of the Customs and Excise Division seized a large quantity of alcohol from vendors who were allegedly selling alcohol without a licence, camouflage clothing and wrapping paper during an exercise in the Central Market, Port-of-Spain.
Later that day, pre-events for the Trinidad & Tobago 2018 Carnival had begun with a Soca & Ice Cooler Fete cruise onboard Harbour Master which began boarding at 6:00 pm and sailed at 7:00 pm. Harbour Master is the largest party cruise vessel in the Caribbean to experience the beauty of Port of Spain, providing an aesthetic and memorable experience for passengers.
At the time, there were no cruise ships in port other than the Harbour Master. Though, this week on Wednesday, January 10, P&O Cruises ship Adonia will be in port. Other ships scheduled to be in port this month include more calls by Adonia, Holland America Line Veendam, Princess Cruises ships Island Princess and Caribbean Princess. Saga Sapphire will be in Port-of-Spain on February 8 for Carnival.
Supt Glen Charles said that the crack-down was part of anti-crime exercises throughout the Christmas period and into the 2018 Carnival season. Charles advised people not to wear expensive jewelry or carry large sums of money when shopping, and to be aware of their surroundings. The City Police Department, he said, has been getting a lot of reports of larceny by pickpockets and snatchers of cellphones.
During the seizure, police searched vendors’ booths and confiscated more than 1,000 bottles of illegally-stocked Stag and Carib beer. Police allege vendors are staying there causing criminal behavior and conduct with swearing and fighting taking place.
Just before Christmas, in an effort to make shopping safer in downtown Port of Spain leading up to Christmas Day, the city police moved some 50 illegal vendors, including non-nationals, off Charlotte Street and neighboring streets.
From October to early December, police detained dozens of illegal immigrants including 45 Venezuelans, 16 Guyanese, 10 Jamaicans, 9 Chinese, 7 Cubans, 3 Colombians, and one each from Italy, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Vendors were removed from the pavements on Charlotte Street, Frederick Street, South Quay, Henry and Queen Streets, where they were blocking pedestrian traffic. Some vendors were also moved from Independence Square north and south.
Charles said the crackdown was part of a broader plan to restore trust and confidence between the Police Service and other stakeholders to eradicate crime within the capital city. Charles said there were other illegal activities at the market such as drugs and the police had even received reports of human trafficking because of Caribbean Community Trade Policy information (Caricom).
Video:Police Raid At Port-of-Spain Central Market