Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 1st 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed
Friends sport novelty sunglasses as they said farewell to 2014 at a store in Port-of-Spain yesterday. They are Kayann Paul, left,
Shinnelle Willis, Tenelle Kanhai and Kimberly Awong-Cole. PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
The two Special Reserve Police (SRP)
accused of allegedly assaulting a disabled
man on a wheelchair in San Fernando
on Saturday have been taken off active
The announcement was made yesterday
by acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams and comes days after a video of
the incident sparked massive public outcry
after it was posted on several social media
Web sites on Monday.
Addressing yesterday s weekly police
press briefing at the Police Administration
Building, Port-of-Spain, Williams described
the incident as a "blatant abuse of power."
He said: "As the head of the TTPS I feel
compelled to strongly condemn such rep-
rehensible behaviour by the SRPs."
As part of his "swift and decisive"
response to the controversial video,
Williams said he decided to exercise his
power to temporarily cease their activity
as SRPs, to withdraw their firearm precepts
and seize their uniforms and other police
"That is short of revoking their appoint-
ment as for me to do that I must comply
with the rules of natural justice and the
disciplinary procedure in the police service
regulations," Williams said.
He further explained that the SRP s
would receive no pay during the period of
the investigation as they work under an
employment scheme whether they are paid
based on when they are called upon by the
TTPS to work.
"If they were members of the TTPS the
regulations would provide that the Police
Service Commission can only get as far as
to cutting their pay by up to a half,"
Williams also thanked the unidentified
person who recorded the video and posted
it as he said the incident may have left
unchecked if this was not done.
"Police officers are not above the law
and they must comply with it. That is why
we encourage members of the public to
record events which are inconsistent with
police functions and bring it to our atten-
tion," Williams said.
Williams admitted that the incident,
coupled with that of Assistant Commis-
sioner of Police (ACP) Peter Reyes, had the
potential to damage to public trust and
confidence the Police Service was attempt-
ing to improve over the past year.
When asked to explain the difference
in his decision pertaining to ACP Reyes,
who was this week transferred from head-
ing the Tobago Division following a incident
aboard a domestic flight two weeks ago,
Williams identified the video recording of
the SRPs as the main factor.
"The clip is obvious and that is why I
could speak strongly about it...I can actually
see the event so I can take deliberate
action," Williams said as he claimed there
were several inconsistencies between media
reports on Reyes incident and statements
given by eyewitnesses.
"That is why in the first instance you
have to do an investigation to get the facts
of the matter to make a determination
whether a criminal offence or any other
offences would have been committed,"
While he said in both cases he chose to
take action that would ensure fairness to
the parties involved, Williams expressed
the view the Police Service s disciplinary
regulations were outdated and time con-
"It is a pretty slow process because of
the bureaucracy built in to the regulations.
What i would like to see is a review of the
procedures so we can shorten process for
speedier tribunals so, we can at the end
of the day reach the point where persons
can receive the highest level of discipline,"
Williams said. See Page A5
Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assem-
bly (THA) Orville London says Tobagonians will
support the reassignment of Assistant Commis-
sioner of Police Peter Reyes back to Trinidad.
Assistant Commissioner of Community Rela-
tions Earl Gonzales is now head of the Tobago
The decision to reassign Reyes was made during
the commissioner executive meeting on Tuesday
at Police Administration Building, St Vincent
Street in Port-of-Spain.
Reyes was recently placed to head the Tobago
branch because assistant commissioner Brian
Headley went on pre-retirement leave on Decem-
ber 18 this year.
In a telephone interview yesterday, London said:
"I am comforted by the fact that the commissioner
(Stephen Williams) is sensitive to the issues which
confronted the people of Tobago and will have
the support of the people. The decision to reassign
(Reyes) has my support."
London said he was informed that Gonzales
will be there a short period of time and replaced
by another person who will be there long term.
"There will be individuals who will integrate
with the Tobago public and treat with challenges
with respect to security," he said.
London said there are outstanding matters con-
cerning unsolved crimes especially the murder of
Germans couple Hubertus Keil and his wife
Brigid."We have to strengthen the perception of
safety on the island. As long as the person in
charge is aware of these issues, and the need for
them to maintain the trust of the people," he said.
London said after the incident with Reyes,
Tobagonians were concerned.
"There was a consensus among Tobagonians
and I had discussions with the commissioner that
he made the right call. There was a consensus
that he (Reyes) wasn t the right person," he said.
In light of Reyes s reassignment, president of
the Police Service Social and Welfare Association,
Insp Anand Ramesar, said the executive needed
to review the suspension of other officers.
"Whilst the transfer is an option, the association
feels that there is some level of consistency in
treating with this particular case represents a level
of inconsistency. In relation to officers to officers
who are subjected to investigations where they
behaviour is under question and considered within
the range of gross misconduct offences," he said.
Ramesar said there are too many police officers
who are on suspension for matters of a less serious
"It is necessary for the commissioner to review
serious decisions where officers are on suspension
in light of this decision. The association remains
resolute in its calls for transparency, accountability
Top cop: Blatant abuse of power
Thursday, January 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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