Sunday 12 July, 2020

Griffith warns: Jail time for those who block roads, aid sedition

Persons who intentionally block traffic or share seditious messages could face a fine and/or jail time, said Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

In a statement issued Sunday following a viral message which urged motorists to block roads and intersections on Monday October 8, 2018, Griffith said the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) would enforce the laws of the country. 

Griffith warned citizens against heeding the messages circulating on social media encouraging motorists to block major roads and intersections on Monday.

"Citizens are reminded that blocking the nation’s roadways and highways are illegal and contrary to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Chapter 48:50, Regulation 38, Section (6), which states, “Every driver shall not negligently or wilfully prevent, hinder or interrupt the free passage of any vehicle, person or animal, and shall not allow such motor vehicle and any trailer drawn thereby to stand in such road so as to cause any unnecessary obstruction thereto.”

"Motorists found to be in contravention of this law will face a fixed penalty fine of $600."

"Any person who commits any of the following offences to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of any resident or passer-by is liable for each offence to a fine of $200 or imprisonment for one month," the release said.

The Commissioner also strongly warned persons against inciting actions aimed at destabilizing the nation which would disrupt the peace.

"Citizens are being cautioned against communicating and publishing any statement with a seditious intention."

"The Sedition Act, Chapter 11:04, Section 4(1c) states that a person is guilty of an offence who publishes, sells, offers for sale or distributes any seditious publication."

"Further, the Sedition Act, Chapter 11:04: Section 3(1a) states that a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt, or excite disaffection against Government or Constitution."

"Section 3(1c) states that a sedition intention is an intention to raise discontent or disaffection amongst inhabitants of Trinidad and Tobago."

"A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to on summary conviction to a fine of three thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years."

The release also referred to Chapter 10:02, Section 2 of the Accessories and Abettors Act, which states that any person who aids and abets, counsels or procures the commission of an indictable offence may be indicted, tried and punished as a principal offender.

"Commissioner Griffith is today giving the assurance that police officers will be out in full force and prepared to ensure the free flow of traffic along the nation’s roadways and highways to ensure adherence of laws."

The release said police patrols will be at all locations identified in the social media messages, to ensure the strict adherence to all traffic laws.


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