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Carenage Police Station newspaper says businessman Adrian Scoon called Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi while there and was questioned about the party aboard the MV Ocean Pelican the day after Christmas.

The GA last night, however, denied that this had happened. “I was not contacted by Mr Scoon while he was in custody,” he told the Sunday Express via WhatsApp.

Excerpts from the diary indicate that on December 26, 2021, Scoon “made a phone call to his phone and invited Sergeant # 14596 Adams to speak on the phone.”

After a short conversation, Scoon handed the phone to Sgt Adams, indicating that someone wanted to speak to him.

In the presence of Scoon and others, Sgt Adams “activated the speakerphone function on the aircraft”.

According to the newspaper, the male voice on the other end of the phone identified as “Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi … he said he was not hampering the investigation, but his position was that the ship was not considered a party boat was he of the opinion that no offense had been committed ”.

However, “No. 14596 Sgt Adams informed said person on the other line that according to Covid-19 regulations, the Ocean Pelican is considered a party boat and should be granted an exemption from the Minister of Health. The conversation has ended, ”the newspaper said.

When the police asked Scoon to produce his Department of Health exemption allowing him to have a party aboard the Ocean Pelican, he allegedly told the police, “I was told I didn’t need to. an exemption from the Honorable Attorney General, ”according to the diary.

Scoon is the son of Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon.

Additionally, the Sunday Express was able to confirm with sources that Al-Rawi called and spoke with Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob and Acting Police Commissioner Erla Christopher on December 26, while officers of the Western Division put an end to the celebration and held patrons.

Several efforts to contact Jacob and Christopher were unsuccessful as the GA is uncertain whether these conversations took place.

License null and void

Scoon claims he was given permission to hold the event via a special restaurant license issued by the Customs and Excise Division.

Such a license is required by places that sell alcohol to people whether or not they live or eat there.

This license and another special license have since been made “null and void” by the interim customs and excise controller Bernard Nicholas by letter dated December 30, 2021, because it was not issued in accordance with article 45 (1) of liquor permits. Act chapter 84: 10.

In that letter, Nicholas asked Scoon to immediately return the Special Restaurant License and the other Special License to the division where it will be refunded.

An internal investigation has since been launched by Customs to determine how Scoon received the licenses since instructions were given for the application to be deferred due to restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scoon’s attorney Kiel Taklalsingh said on Friday that he wrote to Nicholas saying, “First of all, to the extent that you claim to state that our client’s license is’ void and not the instrument is null and void and such declarations fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court. As such, all instruments in the possession of my client remain valid unless canceled by the High Court. “

He added: “The unfortunate effect of your letter is to jeopardize my client’s (already planned) business activities, potentially cause him economic loss and possibly tarnish his good reputation. Under the circumstances, since your letter was issued without notice and reasons, if you do not cancel it within 48 hours, I have received instructions from my client to initiate judicial review proceedings to declare your decisions illegal. .

Email to Deyalsingh

On the morning of December 27, a day after his party was closed and all 100 clients were treated and released pending investigation, Scoon emailed a letter dated December 26, 2021 to the Minister of Health. Terrence Deyalsingh, revealing that he (Scoon) “wants to convert our ship into a floating restaurant and, more importantly, a safe area. “

The letter was sent to Deyalsingh’s personal email address only.

The correspondence with Deyalsingh reads: “Dear Minister Deyalsingh, we at the Ocean Pelican are writing to inform you that we have obtained our restaurant and bar license and wish to convert our ship into a floating restaurant and , more importantly, in a safe area.

“On the advice of the Honorable AG Faris Al-Rawi, we assure you that our ship will remain docked and not sail in order to comply with the regulations of the Public Health Ordinance. We stress that we plan to observe all protocols that constitute a safe zone during this time. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned via (cell phone number omitted by Express) Sincerely, Adrian Scoon — General Manager ”.

Section 4 (1) (C) of the Public Health Ordinance Regulations 2020 states:

(1) For the purpose of controlling and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV), any person who: (b) operates a party boat, constitutes an offense, during the period specified in rule 17, excursion in boat or club; (c) organize public feasts or public feasts. Unless authorized by the Minister.

Last week, when asked to comment, Deyalsingh directed all questions to the T&T Police Department and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for interpretation.

On December 28, two days after the event, the Minister of Health responded to Scoon by outlining the requirements for a safe zone, which included signage to this effect.

Scoon’s apologies

On December 28, via a press release, Al-Rawi admitted that Scoon was very well known to him.

When the content of Scoon’s email to Deyalsingh was published by the Express on December 28, the attorney general’s office said in a statement, “Mr. Scoon apologized to the GA, specifically acknowledged that no legal opinion had been given. by the GA and declared that he regretted the inconvenience caused.

The GA did not elaborate on how the apology was presented, while Scoon remained silent.

The statement added that Scoon “called several weeks ago to ask a general question about the public health regulations and party boats, and the GA specifically informed him to put his questions to the Minister of Health and / or to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. The GA specifically warned Mr. Scoon to ensure that whatever he does, he must strictly follow the law, as there is no exceptions The GA did not provide any legal advice to Mr. Scoon.

Permits required

Investigations by the Sunday Express also revealed that other permits / licenses / authorizations to host the event had not been requested by Scoon or anyone affiliated with the Ocean Pelican.

These include permission from Environmental Management Authority (EMA), T&T Copyright Organization (COTT), Fire Department, Health, Office county medical, police, and city and country approval.

Responding to questions posed by the Sunday Express on December 30, the EMA’s communications department said that permits for “noise variations for events were suspended in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and of its related restrictions. The suspension of noise variations remains in effect. Notwithstanding requests for information from boat operators in the past, the EMA has not granted noise variations for events held on ships.

No request was made to the County Medical Officer (CMO) of St George West.

The Sunday Express understands that Scoon was to make a request through the CMO, and a site visit and recommendation would have been made.

Part of the visit would have consisted of noting the structural changes made to the party craft to convert it into a restaurant.

The request is then sent to the Magistrates’ Court (in this case Port of Spain) for approval by a licensing committee.

To function as a “floating” restaurant, Scoon had to register with the CMO to obtain a certificate of registration as a restaurant.

There has been no request for approval from the TTPS, the Fire Department, the City and Country Division, COTT and the Department of Health for the event held on the Scoon ship.

Police investigation

Police are carrying out a criminal investigation into how around 100 patrons were able to congregate aboard the Ocean Pelican on Boxing Day as a floating restaurant.

Detectives from the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) also launched an investigation into reports that several officers attached to the Carenage police station were at the boat party moonlighting as security.

Police reports say officers in the West Division received several calls from concerned people and Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) officials on Boxing Day, reporting that a boat party was taking place.

When police arrived near the Anchorage in Chaguaramas, several party attendees started running, police said.

Recent changes to the Covid-19 health regulations allow on-site meals once a safe zone is in effect.

Diners must also show proof of their full immunization status and the venue must have safe zone signage.

As a result, the station’s log entry states that checks were made “for signage displays on the vessel that adhere to the Covid-19 regulation signage, however, the only signs observed were a few” hold on. here “placed on the floor of the ship.

Contacted on December 27 via WhatsApp at 1:09 p.m., AG Al-Rawi was asked to answer the following questions:

1) Did you contact Police Commissioner Jacob and / or Deputy Police Commissioner Erla Christopher yesterday regarding a “MV Ocean Pelican” pleasure boat? If so, what was the nature of such a discussion?

2) Did you communicate with Mr. Adrian Scoon yesterday (Boxing Day) regarding an event aboard the MV Ocean Pelican?

If so, what was the nature of this discussion?

3) Did you contact ONE West Division police officer yesterday regarding the vessel MV Ocean Pelican and any of its occupants? If so, what was the nature of this discussion?

At 1:20 p.m. Al-Rawi replied, “Thank you for your questions which, according to media reports, are the subject of an ongoing police investigation which is entirely outside my remit as Attorney General. Under any circumstance, I am unable to help you anyway.


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