Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith says officers will be cracking down on bar owners, fete promoters and Carnival bandleaders who allow minors to consume alcohol on the premises or during their events.
He said the crackdown has already started at various points across T&T.
“I have made a public statement advising that officers, including those in plain clothes, would be monitoring establishments that do not comply with the regulations,” Griffith told Guardian Media Wednesday.
“I have also advised fete promoters and Carnival band leaders of same, as there are reports of minors going to all-inclusive Carnival fetes and all-inclusive Carnival bands where alcohol is given to all patrons and masqueraders with no restrictions.”
Griffith said bartenders and establishments will feel the full brunt of the law should they decide to sell liquor to a minor. He said attending an all-inclusive fete does not give bartenders and promoters the freedom to give alcohol to minor and police will be checking these fetes for breaches in the law.
Griffith is also advising band leaders to issue a different colour wristband to persons under the age of 18 so they can be easily identified. He said an early introduction to alcohol can create problems down the road, as more youths may seek to experiment with harder drugs and turn to a life of delinquency. He said this was part of a greater crime prevention plan seeking to ensure future generations of criminals do not plague society.
“If laws are not enforced then the product of opportunity becomes more readily available. This practice has been ongoing because the law was not being enforced. That has changed,” Griffith said.
Griffith’s comments came in the wake of calls by Chaguanas Mayor Gopaul Boodhan for the commissioner to make good on his promise to crack down on bars and similar establishments that sell alcohol and cigarettes to minors in his borough.
Boodhan made the call on Tuesday evening after the Chaguanas Borough Corporation (CBC) met with officials from the United States Embassy.
Boodhan said when Griffith recently visited the corporation he announced plans to tackle the illegal sales of liquor to minors. He said he fully supports Griffith and believes this move must go a step further and involve all members of the community, especially adults, who should report to the police any establishment selling alcohol to minors.
The mayor said although the festive season is around the corner adults must not encourage minors to consume liquor. He said this habit may set the foundation for numerous problems, including drinking and driving, alcohol abuse and delinquency. He said the corporation’s goal is to encourage healthy lifestyles among youngsters through sports and education.
On the visit by US Embassy officials, Boodhan said Chaguanas is part of the Strong Cities Network and the meeting discussed strategies relating to crime prevention and safety in the borough for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.
- by Shastri Boodan