More than 100 persons were detained when police raided the Residence Night Club at One Woodbrook Place, St James, on Sunday night.
All the patrons, the manager, and employees of the establishment will be charged by summons for breaches of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations.
The charges which will be laid will be as follows:
Section 4 (1) (d) of the regulations says it is an offence to hold a public party or public fete;
Section 3 (1) (a) says it is an offence for someone to be found at a public place where the number of persons gathered, at any time, exceeds ten;
Section 4 (4) (d) says it is an offence for a restaurant, bar, or establishment, to sell or provide alcohol to its in-service customers.
Ninety-six persons will be charged in accordance with Section 3(1) (a), and eight persons under Section 4 (1) (d). Three Venezuelan women who are in the country illegally, were also detained and will be handed over to the Immigration authorities. Further investigations are continuing.
The prequel to this raid started on Friday night when Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, having been notified of a party being held, gave certain instructions to the Western Division Police.
Three police officers responded around midnight and knocked on the front door of the Residence. Before the door was opened, all the patrons escaped through the back door.
On Sunday night, the CoP was again alerted to a party at the Residence where more than 100 persons had gathered. This time, Commissioner Griffith spoke with acting Senior Supt Kelvern Thompson, head of the Western Division. The CoP said a proper exercise was coordinated where both the front and back entrances were blocked by police officers. Police entered the establishment and detained all the patrons, most of whom live in upscale areas of North Trinidad. There were several foreigners and children of well-known families. The party was shut down.
Most of the patrons were placed in the Detention Bus and taken to the St James Police Station. The majority of those detained will be charged by way of summons.
In response to social media critics that the TTPS was only raiding zesser parties, Commissioner Griffith says that in recent times, that has not been the case. “As you would have seen, we raided the Passage to Asia compound where a function was in progress and where 71 persons were charged for failing to wear a mask and for gathering in numbers exceeding ten. Once I receive the information, I will act and I really want to thank the public for their assistance over the past weeks. I want to assure you, no matter where you live and your status in life, you cannot find sanctuary for wrong doing. Because of information sent to me and the quick response of the TTPS, several planned parties were aborted and monies refunded from these so-called Virtual Fetes.”
The CoP says an investigation is underway to determine whether an Inspector of Police was derelict in her duties when she responded to the report of the party in progress at the Residence on Friday night. He says based on how things played out that night, the Police allowed over 100 patrons to escape through the back door without charges being laid.
Sunday night’s raid was spearheaded by Sen Supt Thompson and included Supt Henry, ASP Baird, Inspector Grant, Sgt Carmona and members of the Western Division Task Force, the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), and the Canine Branch.