Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 24th 2015 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
National Security Minister Carl
Alfonso yesterday endorsed acting
Police Commissioner Ann Marie
Alleyne-Daly s apology to the public
for yesterday s traffic disruptions due
to police roadblocks.
He also said he did not think the
police had deliberately set out to mount
the roadblocks to put pressure on Gov-
ernment over the stalled wage negoti-
ations with the CPO.
Speaking at a media briefing following
yesterday s weekly Cabinet-sub com-
mittee meeting, Alfonso, who had been
monitoring the issue since early yes-
terday, also corrected erroneous reports
that he had told "officers to stand down"
and stop the roadblocks.
Alfonso said he had learned of the
development early yesterday via numer-
ous phone calls from people complaining
of their inability to get to work, school
and to catch flights due to roadblocks
being mounted by police.
He said as a citizen one would be
concerned about the situation and espe-
cially about the many disruptions. He
said his questions would have been what
police were looking for, including if it
was arms and ammunition
He said since it was a police operation,
he spoke to the acting Commissioner
of Police (CoP), who later came to his
office with DCPs Glenn Hackett and
Harold Phillips, who all explained what
was taking place. Alfonso said the acting
CoP told him she would instruct police
to stand down all roadblocks with
immediate effect until further notice.
"It was not to say the minister was
the one who said to stand down. That s
not how it works," Alfonso said.
"I can t do that. I wouldn t even ven-
ture to do that and I m sure the CoP
wouldn t have said the minister told
them to stand down."
Saying social media allegations on
that aspect were erroneous, Alfonso
added: "If it was due to an upsurge in
crime, et cetera, I would hardly want
to tell them to halt operations.
"If it is the traffic and public was dis-
rupted as it was, I would have dialogue
with the CoP and take advice from her
in the matter and a decision would be
made. The CoP can make or take deci-
sions to cease operations.
"I am sure I expressed my concerns
with the chaos but at the end of the
day I have no control over police service
operations. An outsider can never tell
the CoP or divisional commanders how
to do their job, and I wouldn t do so."
Alfonso said he was satisfied the CoP
was going to investigate why the road-
blocks were so extensive. However, he
said he didn t think "most of us were
prepared for it."
He also said he would not be inter-
fering in current wage negotiations
between the Finance Minister, Chief
Personnel Officer and the Police Social
and Welfare Association. He said he
would try to find out what plans the
minister had though. Alfonso said he
also could not say that the police road-
blocks were an attempt to "pressure"
the Government on the negotiations.
"I haven t been told that. I would
hate to think police officers set up road-
blocks simply to put pressure on the
Government so they could get their way.
I don t think that is the plan," he said.
He said he thought the police had set
out to serve the public and while the
roadblocks would have caused disrup-
tions in traffic if kept in place too long,
"I don t think they (police) were delib-
erately trying to cause confusion."
Alfonso also corrected erroneous
reports that the National Security Coun-
cil had met on the issue yesterday.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The number drawn yesterday on
CNC3 was 978782. If the number on
the bunny at the back of your Saturday,
Sunday or Monday s T&T Guardian
was 978782 you have won $5,000 cash.
You have until 3 pm today to come
to the T&T Guardian s office at 22-24
St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain, with
the newspaper containing the winning
number and photo identification.
Yesterday s nationwide road-
blocks by police left thousands
of workers and school children
stranded in hours of gridlocked
traffic which caused many to
return home frustrated and
But those who made it to their
destinations were sent scurrying
for the doors early as news spread
that officers intended to resume
the action around 2 pm.
Confirming that the action had
impacted both staff and student
turnout at schools across the
country yesterday, officials of the
Ministry of Education said many
school principals opted to dismiss
classes early. The situation was
similar in Tobago, officials said.
The ministry said there would be
no consequences for students who
missed school or arrived late for
Questioned about whether or
not the action had disrupted end-
of-term exams, as school closes
on Friday for the two-week Easter
break, officials said many schools
had already completed exams but
principals had the authority to
rearrange or postpone further
Officials of the T&T Unified
Teachers Association (TTUTA)
refused to condemn the police
TTUTA first vice-president and
acting president Antonia De Freitas
said: "The police have their job to
do and they were just doing their
job today (yesterday)."
She said she believed things
would be put in place for schools
to complete their activities for the
end of term.
However, she said they had con-
tacted the chief education officer
to alert him to the clause in the
1998 collective agreement n which
notes teachers cannot be penalised
for their absence in "unusual or
Senior officials at the Licensing
Division also distanced themselves
from the early morning roadblocks,
which were carried out during the
peak hour commute. One official
said: "Many of our officers were
also caught in it and had to return
Students from South East Port-of-Spain Secondary School, Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, leave school after
they were dismissed early because of the lack of many teachers due to police roadblocks yesterday.
PHOTO: JEFF MAYERS
Alfonso as he meets police top
brass on roadblocks:
I don't think
Schools dismissed early
Easter Bunny jackpot at $5,000
Acting CoP kept in loop
Also contacted yesterday, acting
Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams, who is out of T&T on official
police business, said he had gotten
feedback on yesterday's situation. He
said he had spoken to the executive
team, acting police commissioner and
deputy commissioners and the
National Security Minister.
"I can't fully speak to the matter but
I am sure appropriate action will be
taken and whatever has to be done
will be done to bring that matter to
closure and decisive action will be
Williams, who returns Saturday,
said he would try to continue
monitoring the situation.
Links Archive March 23rd 2015 March 25th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page