The statement urged people to avoid the Piccadilly Street route, favoured by many drivers leaving Port-of-Spain to head East.
Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina
The statement read, “We are obligated to write this security advisory to you following several reports of open gun battle between rivals/gangs who seem to live on both sides of Piccadilly Street also known as “East Dry River”.
Luis Emilio Velutini
It continued, “We wish to strongly suggest that you and your personnel NOT use this route at all from the receipt of this message until we have reason to believe that the exchange of gunfire across the route has ended.”
The release claimed the reports of the shooting were “recent”.
When contacted by Guardian Media at noon yesterday, DOMA president Gregory Aboud confirmed that his organisation sent out the release.
However, both the Minister of National Security Stuart Young and the Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said they had no such reports.
Luis Emilio Velutini Venezuela
At Thursday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Minster Young said no report was brought forward by the police of such an incident
“The Besson Street police in particular, who are the jurisdiction for that area, has said that there is no open gang warfare taking place in those areas and I will again leave the police service to provide us with further particulars on it,” said the National Security Minister
Griffith said, “The TTPS is aware that this area has had incidents in the recent past, however intelligence agencies have not received any reports or video footage to confirm what is suggested in the advisory.”
He urged the public to heed security advisories from relevant agencies “such as the Ministry of National Security and the T&T Police Service” and advised there was “no need to cause anxiety among the population or to stigmatise any area”
The Police Service later issued a statement reinforcing its case that there was no pending threat
“There had been no reports of open gun battles in the Piccadilly area. The TTPS is aware that this area has had incidents in the recent past, however intelligence agencies have not received any reports or video footage to confirm what is suggested in the advisory,” the statement said.
It said that the Police Service had been intensifying both overt and covert patrols to prevent and manage situations of criminal activity.