THREE Amalgamated buses were used to haul away at least 50 men on Friday evening who police said were in breach of the covid19 regulations.
According to police around 5 pm they went to Short’s Bar at Belle Eau Road, Belmont where they met a group of men inside the bar. The men were arrested along with some people liming outside. Newsday was told by eye witnesses that police accused the men, some of whom police labelled as gang leaders, of meeting to plot to kill police.
Following the triple killing of Joel Jacobs, Israel Clinton and Noel Diamond on June 27 by police, residents of East Port of Spain protested the killings calling for justice. Police said the protests were organised by gangs and there was a truce between two gangs Rasta City and Muslim, to attack the police. The men were supposedly at the bar to conduct a meeting regarding that plot.
Owner of the bar Nixon Richards said he had no issue with the men being arrested for breaching the covid19 regulations, however, he questioned why police had to damage his roulette machine. He said it will cost him about $50,000 to repair.
Richards also showed where he claimed police ransacked part of his bar and broke down part of a wooden door. One man who was in the bar at the time police arrived said the bar was not only closed but locked as the owner was not around and not open for business while 22 people were inside.
The men, he said, were liming and talking but drinks were not being sold and therefore the covid19 regulations ought not to be applied. The only sale happening he said was outside the bar where fried chicken was on sale and even there had less than 25 people, he claimed.
Breaching the regulations can land a bar owner a $50,000 fine. Up to 8 pm, roughly an hour after the group were hauled off, the bar owner was not arrested.