Lawyer calls on acting top CoP: Make ‘total policing’ report public
Attorney and member of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Martin George has expressed support for the call that acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams make public the full report which was submitted after the investigation into what was nationally dubbed, a total day of policing which occurred on March 23.
Speaking during a telephone interview yesterday, George said there were still a number of “ominous” questions that remained unanswered. George spoke in the capacity of an attorney. On Friday, the T&T Chamber of Commerce issued a release in which they criticised Williams for opening up, both himself and the contents of the report to public scrutiny. This, after Williams provided a statement on the issue during the weekly police media briefing last Wednesday.
Responding to questions, Williams reportedly said, “The investigator has reported prima facie there is the issue of disciplinary breach and he has identified the divisional commanders in the various areas for which road exercises were conducted and some of the station commanders who may be subject to issues around discipline.” He also said despite the disciplinary breaches by the various heads of divisions for certain stations, the report would not be made public.
Addressing the issue, George said, “I have listened to the statements made in relation to the investigation of this incident which occurred in relation to the total policing and what remains of concern, and what I think still remains unexplained, despite the answers given by the hierarchy of the Police Service, is the issue of how is it that such a massive and well coordinated operation appeared to escape the initial attention of the police executive.”
George said despite the explanations being offered, this was the primary issue which needed to be addressed before anything else. He questioned, “Is it that you are saying that your Police Service under you, acts in ways that you have no knowledge of, no control of, in such a massive well coordinated manner and it takes you more than four hours to even either realise or respond to this?”
Claiming this was the essential question which needed to be answered, George added: “Can the executive really crucify the rest of the Police Service and wash their hands of it, saying we had no part in it, we knew nothing about it, we did not sanction it and we are going to take action after the fact?” George said the public would have a hard time accepting this logic.
“I think the questions still linger over the heads of the executive of the Police Service. Stephen Williams was out of the country at the time so he can be excused in the circumstances, but I think the other senior officers who were here still need to account properly to the public”
“Is it that they knew and turned a blind eye to it? Is it that they were afraid to confront the situation? Is it that they were waiting for a scenario such as when the Minister of National Security gave his directive, for them to then say the instructions came from higher up so therefore we will now put a stop to it?” George asked.
Crediting the public for being more intelligent and discerning in this matter, George said, “This entire operation showed tremendous coordinated activity by the Police Service, and I think the members of the public would love to see the police employ this approach in fighting crime and solving some of the high profile outstanding criminals matters such as the Dana Seetahal murder. If the police were to mobilise like that, immediately upon the execution of Ms. Seetahal, I am confident they would have caught the criminals by now.
Extracted From: Trinidad Guardian Newspaper