Police are investigating a small explosion that took place at Parkade, Government Plaza, Port of Spain, on Monday morning. Police said a device, seemingly made up of "modified firecrackers" was found at the explosion site on the second floor of the building.
After the explosion, police cordoned off sections of Richmond Street, Queen Street and St Vincent Street, restricting both pedestrian and vehicular traffic as they conducted investigations in the area.
By 11 am, the Parkade and nearby government offices, including the Customs and Excise Division, the Immigration Division and the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs (AGLA) were evacuated with the assistance of police and fire officers.
Staff from the Unit Trust Corporation's nearby office also joined government staff at a muster point on the Brian Lara Promenade at the bottom of Richmond Street.
A police officer at the muster point told Newsday that, in addition to the explosion at Parkade, police were also investigating bomb threats at other government buildings in the area.
Staff members of the AGLA said they had been told to evacuate their workplace because of a bomb scare. They also confirmed hearing sounds of cracking glass while in the building.
Police later gave the all-clear for workers to return to their stations.
On Monday afternoon, at a virtual press conference, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi confirmed that investigations were continuing into an explosive device found at the Parkade and shattered glass on the sixth floor of his office.
"I will not like to lurch to any conclusions just yet until the investigative authorities have had the chance to treat with this matter.”
Al-Rawi said, in the past, a similar event occurred in which shots were fired at the AG's office and a device had also been detonated at the Parkade.
In 2019, an explosive device was set off at the Parkade. A staff member at the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) reported that smoke was coming from the top of the building and an explosion had been heard.
At that time, police said the device was wired and powered by four batteries. They also noted a second object that did not explode was also found at Parkade.
On Monday, a police press release headlined, "Manhunt on for suspect following explosion at Government Plaza," said officers of the Special Branch and Central Police Station conducted investigations at the Government Plaza and the AGLA with regard to the explosion.
"Reports from the investigative team revealed a device that appears to be some modified firecrackers. The only confirmed damage that occurred was to the dustbin, in which the device was placed."
The release said the cracks in the glass of the AGLA building were not linked to Monday's explosion.