Some 2,000 police officers are expected to be out in full force for tomorrow’s Local Government elections, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson said yesterday.
While there have been no reports of any incidents in the lead-up to tomorrow’s voting, Richardson said officers were deployed to the Arouca Junction at around 9.30 Friday night after a loud explosion was heard.
Describing the incident as “mischief”, he said residents reported a “loud crackling sound like firecrackers”, and a number of police officers responded.
“As it now stands, we are still investigating,” he told the Sunday Express.
He said that a robust security system has been put in place to deal with any eventuality, and will be further augmented by Special Reserve Police (SRP) officers and 70 members of the uniformed Praedial Larceny Squad.
“They will be posted at various parts of the country to augment the normal police strength,” Richardson said, adding that other arms of the protective services, including the army will man the various ports of entry, as well as vulnerable installations around the country.
“From today we have given law enforcement officers the necessary briefings and they will be posted at various polling stations until Tuesday after elections.”
Richardson said he will be on the ground and along with Ag Deputy CoP Earl Gonzales, will be assisting Gold Command Deputy Commissioner of Police Ann Marie Alleyne in ensuring safe elections.
He said he will be based in the East while two other DCPs will be supervising activities in North and South Trinidad, where they will supervise the entire elections process, and will be supported by assistant commissioners and other divisional commanders.
“We have instituted an Incident Command Centre, at the Police Headquarters in Port of Spain and this will manned by a First Division officer. All incidents, wherever they occur, will be reported there and the first division officer will be manning this centre 24 hours.
“I can assure you that we have a robust system in place. Over the years we have built capacity from such international events like the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the fifth Summit of the Americas and we will bring our experience to bear on the Local Government elections,” Richardson said.
With just one day to go before thousands cast their votes, thus far there have been no reports of any major incidence, he added.
“We have been able to manage the run-up to the elections without incidents. I want to take this opportunity to ask the public not to get involved in the pre-election and post-election situations,” Richardson said.
The three major political parties contesting the elections are the United National Congress (UNC), the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
Voters are expected to face the polls from as early as 6 a.m. at the 136 electoral districts in the country.
Voting ends at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
Yesterday thousands of supporters braved the inclement weather to attend their various final rallies, with the PNM holding its final meeting at the Eddie Hart Ground in Tacarigua, while UNC went back to its stomping ground at Mid Centre Mall, Chaguanas and the ILP at Endeavour Lands, Chaguanas.