People flee Port of Spain

An empty Port of Spain Street at around 1 pm on Tuesday.- Carla Bridglal
An empty Port of Spain Street at around 1 pm on Tuesday.- Carla Bridglal

There was no official evacuation order for Port of Spain from the central government on Tuesday, but businesses and government agencies across the city shut their doors, pulled down their security gates and sent staff home.

All the main streets in Port of Spain were deserted as the few people still around hustled to get out of the city.

The usually busy St Ann's and St James' taxi stands were empty of people, with only a few taxi drivers waiting for customers who had already left.

One employee at the Ministry of Communications told Newsday the permanent secretary had sent all staff home in an effort to keep them safe, while protests over police-involved killings continued for the second day.

The Senate adjourned its sitting after a few minutes, and KFC outlets closed their doors.

Republic Bank, Eastern Credit Union and Movie Towne also closed Port of Spain locations..

Earlier in the day. National Security Minister Stuart Young told people not to panic, saying the protests were being addressed.

The mayor of the city, Joel Martinez, said corporation workers feared for their safety and refused to go to clear up sites where protesters had thrown debris in the roads.

Gary Aboud, owner of the Mode Alive home store on Frederick Street, said he closed at 11 am after reports that protests and shooting had erupted in the city.

"My staff was the first priority. It was not a matter of business, but the welfare of my people.

"We are currently evacuating the Valsayn store as well."

Aboud said he felt the government should have already declared a state of emergency.

He added that he personally felt a sense of outrage over the police-involved killing on Saturday, in which three men were shot dead in Morvant. "From the video I saw, I believe at least one boy was a casualty of excessive force."

While he said he did not condone the "violence" of the demonstrations, he wished protesters would more violently protest that the PNM has not proclaimed the Procurement Act.


"People flee Port of Spain"

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