THIS weekend's confluence of a public holiday and Father’s Day might tempt some to try and hold gatherings even in the face of a deadly pandemic. We urge caution and restraint.
After the successful experiment of imposing a longer curfew on the recent Corpus Christi and Indian Arrival Day public holidays, and clearly mindful of Trinis' penchant to lime and gather at the drop of a hat, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on Tuesday adjusted the regular curfew hours of 9 pm-5 am to 10 am-5 am for both Saturday and Sunday.
Given our past experiences with large gatherings and unnecessary human movement during public holidays, this move – while inconvenient for many – is necessary and welcomed.
On Monday, Commissioner Griffith also raised the issue of people breaking the law to try and stay within the law by way of speeding and driving recklessly in order to try and reach home before the start of the curfew.
This, Mr Griffith rightly said, will not be tolerated and police will be paying greater attention to drivers especially in the hour or two before the curfew starts.
He likened TT roads to racetracks and marvelled at the fact that despite the daily frenzy, fatalities and accidents had not occurred.
“Right now, the most dangerous thing to do is to be out on the streets in the last two hours or the last hour before curfew,” Mr Griffith said.
Mere hours after he issued his warning and announced a clampdown on speeding, a 32-year-old man was killed in an accident in Laventille where the impact was so great that he was flung from the vehicle and into a drain several feet away. Hours before, a woman was hit by a car in Debe and later died at hospital.
The driver sped off but returned later and asked police to send a message to the family of 49-year-old mother of one, Sadhna Ramcharan. He said he was sorry.
Drivers need to plan their movements. If they cannot make it home in time, they need to come up with alternative arrangements. Or simply avoid leaving for home at the very last minute.
Though some people have been grossly reckless and cavalier in their approach to the curfew, others have been breaking the law for entirely different reasons.
Many seniors who last week responded to the State’s ill-fated open call for walk-in vaccinations, broke the curfew as they tried to reach as early as possible outside health centres to try and be the first in line as only 50 people were being vaccinated then.
This points to the need for there to be an exception for people who may have a reasonable excuse to be out on the road. However, judging from the reports of the trivial matters for which curfew passes have been requested, such a provision is likely to be abused.
There is clearly room for deeper compliance with the spirit of the law.
While the State has allowed essential movement to take place, it should by now be the practise that all people stay at home especially during curfew unless they have very good reasons to be out.
Quite simply put, don't tempt fate.