Year after year, the debate rages on as to weather the fireworks that are sold to citizens and set-off at Divali, Christmas and New Years, are legal.

In 2014, the animal activism group Animal Welfare Network has begun a campaign to end the sale of illegal fireworks in Trinidad and Tobago.

In an interview with the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper, Deputy Police Commissioner Ann Marie Alleyne-Daly noted that the lighting of firecrackers and scratch bombs was illegal:

Alleyne-Daly said citizens could call the police and make a report about firecrackers in their area “and the police will respond.” The law also applied to devices which have a similar explosive effect when detonated, she said. She added: “I would like to let members of the public know the throwing or casting of scratch bombs or these devices is illegal and it is an offence and you can be fined $1,000. “The people are usually young and we want to advise parents that this could be dangerous to children.”

Alleyne-Daly said vendors selling fireworks needed a licence to do so and that could only be granted by the Commissioner of Police. She added: “Under the Explosive Act the Commissioner is the only person to grant a licence to someone to sell gunpowder, explosives or fireworks. “Anybody who contravenes that is likely to be fined $1,000 and the premises must be certified in writing that there is a fireproof vault to store the explosive and no licence will be issued unless those things are in place.”

The Summary Offences Act Chap. 11:02 states as follows:

99. (1) Except as prescribed by **Regulations under this Act, any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks within any town is liable to a fine of one thousand dollars ($1000).
(2) In this section and in sections 100 and 101, “town” includes the City of Port-of-Spain, the City of San Fernando, and the Borough of Arima, and every part of the area within two miles of the boundaries of such City or of either of such Boroughs, and also any place or area declared by the Minister, by Order, to be a town or to be deemed to be included within a town for the purposes of the said sections.
100. Any person who throws, casts, sets fire to, or lets off any fireworks into, in, or upon any street not being in any town, or into, in, or upon any place being within sixty feet of the centre of any such street, is liable to a fine of four hundred dollars ($400).
It is obvious that fireworks are set-off within the Cities of Port-of-Spain and San Fernando, and all major Boroughs throughout the country, rendering their use illegal in those areas.
And while the police may be quick to say that such use is illegal, whether the law relating to fireworks will actually be enforced, is another matter entirely.

About The Author Jason Nathu

Jason Nathu is an attorney-at-law, admitted to practice in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. He is currently a full-time Tutor at the Hugh Wooding Law School.