Monday, February 19, 2018

‘Idle’ rumours of SoE, says Griffith

“Mischievous and idle” was how National Security Minister Gary Griffith yesterday described a rumour that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was set to declare a state of emergency (SoE).

The rumour swept social media sites for most of yesterday, following a statement on Tuesday by the PM that she had an “important” announcement to make.

The announcement, it turned out, was Government’s decision to bestow the nation’s highest award, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on calypsonian the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco).

Persad-Bissessar also announced the State will be footing Sparrow’s medical bills, following a prolonged illness that had put the singer in hospital abroad for months last year.

Griffith said the SoE rumours were an example of how social-media engines like Facebook could be used for mischief.

“People just love to make bacchanal,” Griffith said. “It shows how social media can either be valuable as a communication tool or abused to send the wrong message.”

Numerous posts on Facebook yesterday saw users echoing the question of whether or not another SoE was in the making, and some even referred to past stories from the Express that stemmed from the 2011 SoE imposed by Persad-Bissessar.

The SoE then was declared on August 21 and ended on December 6.

Griffith said there was “absolutely no truth” to the rumours of another limited SoE on the way.

“It sounds juicy but there is no­thing even remotely close to it going on,” Griffith said.

“No one in the security agencies and in our discussions has even brought up the topic.”

He said the Carnival season now in swing has been one of the safest to date, with heavy security at fetes and around the townships.

“Why would we want to do something like that when we are seeing one of the safest Carnivals so far?” Griffith asked. “These rumours are just people wasting time.”