Minister Says No Link Between Hotel Incident and CWC

    PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 9 /CNW/ -- Following an incident at the
Trinidad Hilton on Wednesday, March 7, in which guests and staff at the hotel
were affected by what appeared to be teargas, the Minister of National
Security of Trinidad and Tobago Mr. Martin Joseph, stressed that the country's
emergency services and law enforcement and security agencies had the situation
well under control.
    The Minister said in a news conference Wednesday that forensic personnel
were examining the area in which a discharged teargas canister was found
shortly after 8:00 a.m. The Minister said: "Investigations are being
undertaken to determine whether there was a link with the industrial action
which is taking place at the hotel." He did not believe the incident had any
connection with the Cricket World Cup 2007. The hotel houses a number of
teams, officials and foreign media in the country for warm-up matches ahead of
the Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007, which begins on March 11 in Jamaica. Acting
Commissioner of Police Glen Roach told the news conference in Port of Spain
that at around 8:15 a.m. the fire department responded to a report of a fire
at the hotel. They arrived on the scene at 8:19 a.m. Smoke was observed
emanating from the 8th floor of the hotel. "A device was found which at the
time was emitting smoke and which had all the appearances of a teargas
(canister)," Mr. Roach said. Hotel security personnel quickly evacuated all
hotel guests, including cricketers and team officials from Pakistan and South
Africa. None of the players were affected by the fumes. Players and officials
from Canada and Ireland are also housed at the hotel but were not present at
the time of the incident. "As far as we are aware, no players and no officials
connected to Cricket World Cup received any injury or any discomfort," Roach
said. Five foreign guests and several hotel employees were however treated on
site for eye, nose and skin irritations, while eight people were treated and
discharged from the Port of Spain General Hospital.
    One person was kept for observation at the hospital with a high blood
pressure problem. Roach announced that security at the hotel had since been
stepped up and that the safety and security of the teams and the visitors to
the country are very important to the Police Service of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Government Information Service
    Ministry of Public Administration and Information
    Level 3, Park Plaza
    Cor. Park and St. Vincent Sts.
    Port of Spain, Trinidad W.I.
    Tel: (868) 623-3648
    Fax: (868) 627-1278


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For further information: Government Information Service,
+1-868-623-3648,  or fax, +1-868-627-1278, or

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