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Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago have extended a state of emergency by three months, citing continued security concerns since the measure was first imposed last month to dismantle gangs and decrease crime.

During a rare Sunday sitting of Parliament to debate the extension, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the state of emergency has prevented "a criminal uprising of untold proportions" in the southern Caribbean country off Venezuela's coast.

The government first issued a state of emergency last month following a spike in violent crime that saw 11 murders in 48 hours.

The measure involves an 11 pm to 4 am curfew and gives security forces enhanced powers to search suspects and seize property without a warrant. Police and soldiers are patrolling crime hotspots in the two-island nation of 1.2 million people.

The new time comes close to the suggestion made by businesses that the lockdown be amended to 12 am to 5 am.

"The state of emergency has worked," Persad-Bissessar told the House of Representatives, who extended the measure until December because they agreed the crime crackdown was still incomplete. "Rest assured the crisis has been averted."

Speaking to The Associated Press on Monday, Foreign Affairs and Communications Minister Suruj Rambachan said the government is prepared for any "backlash" as a result of the extension.

"We are ready for any backlash that the criminal element may wish to engage in. We are aware that the criminal element will not be pleased by the state of emergency but the defence force and the police are ready to deal with them," Rambachan said.

In coming weeks, Rambachan said the government will launch initiatives aimed at "preventing or discouraging the less-fortunate citizens from engaging in a life of crime."

Among the new measures are education programmes targeting youngsters in deprived communities and a fact-finding team to probe the root causes of criminality.

On the streets of Port-of-Spain, the country's capital and biggest city, residents expressed mixed emotions about the extension of the state of emergency until December.

"I am happy for the extension, crime is down. Something must be done to stop the crime in T&T," said Sandra Davis, an unemployed resident.

Roger Lezama, a security guard, said he believes the state of emergency is a "waste of time".

"There is no freedom in T&T anymore. My life is a curfew. It won't stop crime. What will happen when the state of emergency is over? More crime and more crime," Lezama told the AP.

Opposition lawmakers have criticised Persad-Bissessar's crackdown for failing to net the "big fish" in Trinidad's underworld.

The prime minister has blasted opposition figures in former Prime Minister Patrick Manning's administration for forging an "unholy partnership" with gangsters through the years, alleging that state resources were dispersed to troubled neighborhoods via criminals who the People's National Movement government had recognised as "community leaders."

"We do not negotiate and wine and dine with gang leaders at hotels, as that last administration did ... just to stay in power," Persad-Bissessar was quoted as saying in the Trinidad Express newspaper.

She said the state of emergency has greatly reduced serious crime and resulted in 1,356 arrests as of Sunday. She said 420 arrests were gang related and 33 were due to homicide charges.

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Usain Bolt has joined Yohan Blake in apologising for what some Jamaicans have seen as 'antics', during the medal ceremony for the men's 4x100m this past Sunday.

The code for the National Anthem, which was played during the medal ceremony, stipulates that all persons should stand at attention, (i.e. heels together) and men should remove their hats.

“I would like to apologise for what could have seemed to be inappropriate behavior on the podium on the playing of the National Anthem for the 4 X 100 metres medal ceremony," Bolt said in a release.

Bolt was a part of the men's 4x100m world record breaking team, which also included Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter.

The team ran 37.04 to improve on the old record of 37.10.

"At no point I had any intention to be disrespectful to the anthem or to the people who support me. My teammates and I were extremely overjoyed that we took the world record. As an Ambassador for the sport and my country, I know my responsibilities and I will never do anything to put that in jeopardy.

"I would therefore like to apologise again and will do all in my power to maintain my status and actions in keeping with being a Jamaican ambassador and ultimately, an ambassador for track and field," Bolt said.

Bolt's apology followed his stellar performances at the championships, which saw him run the 4th fastest time in the 200m in a time of 19.40s.

The National Anthem, which is in the form of a prayer was chosen on July 19, 1962.

The first verse of the National Anthem should be played or sung as specifically designated on the arrival of the Governor-General or the Prime Minister.

The National Anthem may also be sung or played at public gatherings.

Singing of the National Anthem should form part of the ceremony of raising and lowering the flag at the beginning and end of school terms, and at Independence celebrations.

The National Anthem is the creative work of four persons: the late Hon. Hugh Sherlock, the late Robert Lightbourne, the late Mapletoffe Poulle and Christine Allison Lindo, formerly Eugene Mapletoft Poulle.
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While on the road to full recovery, deejay Miguel 'Sizzla Kalonji' Collins will be away from the music scene following his bike accident late last month. The deejay was released from hospital on Sunday.

Last month, the artiste was involved in a serious bike accident in St Ann where he was hit off his bike while travelling along the Salem Runaway Bay main road in Runaway Bay, St Ann. After being admitted to the St Ann's Bay Hospital in serious but stable condition, the deejay was taken to an undisclosed hospital in Kingston where he remained for almost two weeks until his release on Sunday.

several broken bones

According to a statement previously released by Sizzla's publicist, Olimatta Taal, the artiste received several broken bones and had internal bleeding from a ruptured liver.

A source close to the singjay told The STAR yesterday that the deejay has been recovering at home since his release. They said, "He's coming along very well, he's been taking the time to rest and let his body heal."

The source further told The STAR that the deejay would be away from the music scene for an undisclosed period of time, as he will not be performing at stage shows or recording new music, until his health is back to normal.

"I can't say how along it'll take him to recover but the healing process so far is going extremely quick, so keep the prayers positive," they said.

Sizzla, who hails from August Town in St Andrew, is known for hits such as Praise Ye Jah, Black Woman and Child, Thank You Mama among a slew of conscious songs and dancehall tracks.

In June, the singjay, known for his high-pitched notes, released his 65th album titled The Scriptures. The album was produced by John John and launched at his Waterhouse studio. Sizzla was scheduled to do a series of tours in Africa, Japan, Brazil, Guyana, among countries in the Caribbean to promote the album. However, following his accident the tours have now been postponed.

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