State of Emergency: What rights do citizens have?



The Criminal Bar Association wishes to remind the public that during this current state of emergency their constitutional rights are NOT SUSPENDED.

This means that each arrested or detained citizen still has the right to remain silent upon arrest. He is not obligated to answer police questions or consent to be interviewed.  He is not required /cannot be compelled to answer any questions by the police during an interview; can refuse to sign any documents including written statements, hand written and/or type written notes. He can also refuse to participate in video recordings of interviews.

Every citizen has the right to have an attorney-at- law visit him at the police station or any other place of detention or arrest and may refuse to participate in video recordings of interviews.

Each arrestee/detainee is advised that he or she has the right to speak to an attorney –at –law upon arrest/detention.

The right of access to an attorney-at-law and the right to communicate upon arrest are fundamental rights and are essential during this State of Emergency to ensure that arrestees/detainees are treated fairly and in accordance with the rule of law.

All juveniles should have access to a parent, guardian or other responsible adult who can assist and act responsibly on their behalf as soon as possible.

Each citizen charged for a criminal offence can apply for Legal Aid to the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority if he is unable to pay for legal assistance.

A non-national arrestee/detainee is entitled to communicate with his or her Embassy and or Consulate as soon as possible.

The CBA remains committed to ensuring that the rule of law is observed during the current state of emergency and at all times.

For further information on the Criminal Bar Association please contact the Secretary, Michelle Solomon –Baksh, Attorney-at-Law, Templar Court, 22 Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain.






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