Government launches campaign to stop sale and use of scratch bombs

Minister of Public Administration and Communications Maxie Cuffie today launched a national campaign to stop the sale and use of scratch bombs and illegal fireworks in Trinidad and Tobago with an appeal to citizens to develop a culture of care for their neighbours and elderly.

The campaign is themed “Have fun without having a blast.”

Minister Cuffie said the campaign is aimed at “the hearts and minds of everyone, to do their part to ensure a safer Christmas and New Year” since punitive laws alone have never prevented anyone
from committing a crime.

Scratch bombs are illegal in Trinidad and Tobago and anyone wishing to use fireworks must obtain permission from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service 48 hours in advance.

Vendors of fireworks must also obtain a permit to sell fireworks.

The Minister said his government’s campaign is not an attempt to take away from the joyous spirit of the festive season but to ensure that “our enjoyment is not at the expense of our neighbours". 

"There are many other ways we can celebrate the joy and merriment of the season, without getting drunk and without injuring others with illegal fireworks,” he said.

“The ubiquitous use of scratch bombs has become the bane of many events, of many otherwise joyful celebrations. Their indiscriminate and illegal use has resulted in untold damage to property,
loss of limbs, loss of hearing, serious injury to pets and other animals and a plethora of complaints from frustrated citizens, particularly the elderly,” the Minister added.

Using the old adage “what is joke for schoolboy is death for crapaud”, the Minister underscored the laissez-faire attitude of some to scratch bombs and illegal use of fireworks with a promise that
the campaign will be reviewed and revived in time for Independence, Divali and any other period that is appropriate.\

The campaign was inspired by Talparo grandmother, Sally-Ann Cuffy who was severely injured and is now thumbless because of a scratch bomb.

However, the Minister also recognized that there are many others who suffer because of scratch bombs and the illegal use of fireworks.

The Ministries of National Security and Education and TTUTA are partnering with the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications to spread the message of the campaign throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

“I also encourage our younger population to think carefully about the potential danger in which they are placing themselves and the people around them when they use these illegal scratch bombs,” urged Minister Cuffie.