Users Will Face Prosecution for Having Illegal Weapon
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it will ban the importation of “scratch bombs” into the country after describing the firework as a “real nuisance item”.
National Security and Communication Minister, Stuart Young, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday, told reporters that when the scratch bombs are outlawed, anyone found with them will be treated in a similar fashion to those found with an illegal firearm.
“This is a real national nuisance,” Young said, noting that several people have suffered ‘serious injuries” as a result of these bombs.
“In fact either last year or the year before, we had an incident where irresponsible persons threw a scratch bomb into a car and a lady in an attempt, as I recall the facts, to save her grandchild, picked up the scratch bomb to throw it out of the car and it exploded in her hand and she lost some fingers.
“We have had recent incidents where children playing with scratch bombs sustained injuries and even some adults,” Young said, adding that he was happy to announce the decision of the Cabinet to ban the importation of those fireworks.
During this year’s Divali celebrations, a fire at a property allegedly caused by a scratch bomb left nine people homeless.
Young said the Ministry of National Security “will move expeditiously to have this implemented as the law”.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said he was elated at the Cabinet’s decision to outlaw scratch bombs.
“The decision is in sync with the recent review of our code of conduct policy which states incendiary devices like scratch bombs are prohibited within schools. I’d already decided that any student found with this item or detonating it will be immediately suspended and I’d asked principals for extended suspensions and investigations on such matters,” Garcia was reported as saying in a telephone interview with the Guardian.
“Cabinet’s decision goes a little further since it’ll cause any new offending student to be hauled before the courts. We can simply no longer tolerate students wilfully and maliciously disrupting the education of others.
“Teachers in schools from North to South have constantly complained that apart from disruptive noises scratch bombs cause, in some instances both teachers and students have suffered ear drum-related damage, difficulty in hearing and in some cases, ear and nose bleeding.”
He also said the Barataria school teacher who was attacked by the student he attempted to seize scratch bombs from is out of the hospital. The student has been suspended and the matter is now subject of a case conference involving school/ministry officials and the parents. – CMC and TRINIDAD GUARDIAN