Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 19th 2015 Contents A12
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 19, 2015
Police officers say they are prepared to face any
commission of enquiry into the events of March 23
which saw T&T grind to a virtual standstill as the law-
men engaged in a national day of "Total Policing."
Yesterday, Police Service Social and Welfare Association
secretary Michael Seales said the association had already
instructed its members to participate fully in any CoE
should it be commissioned.
On Friday, National Security Minister Carl Alfonso
laid a copy of Assistant Commissioner of Police (North
West) Vincel Edwards report on the incident, following
a police investigation.
Edwards report suggested a CoE be called in order
to properly probe the incident, among other recom-
mendations. The investigation was triggered after public
uproar over the series of coordinated roadblocks which
caused nationwide gridlock, flight delays, school closures
and business shutdowns.
The action was believed to be linked to stalled wage
negotiations between the association and the Chief Per-
sonnel Officer, but the association denied this allega-
In a telephone interview with the Sunday Guardian,
Seales said officers were not
concerned with the govern-
ment s announcement of a
possible commission of
"The association is
unfazed by what was pre-
sented (in Parliament). The
association has taken the
position that we welcome
"We are ones that always
promote accountability and
transparency in all our goings
and doings. We have sug-
gested all our members will be submitting themselves
to transparency and accountability insofar as they bring
on the commission of enquiry," Seales said. More than
40 tickets were issued for fixed penalty offences and at
least three people were arrested during the exercise.
But Seales said officers should not carry all the blame
for the national shutdown, especially since it would be
"premature" to assign culpability to any cadre of offi-
"We repeat what the Commissioner of Police said,
what would have been the findings of the investigation,
that no criminal conduct has been found.
"We are not troubled or fazed. We are saying if they
want a commission of enquiry they have a right to tell
our members and we ask our members to participate
and submit themselves to the commission of enquiry
if it is conducted at this point," Seales said.
Alexander did no wrong
Seales also came to the defence of Inspector Roger
Alexander, who is vice president of the association and
host of television programme Beyond the Tape.
On Friday, Alfonso said the report recommended seri-
ous consideration be given to the relationship between
Alexander and the Police Service. He said Alexander s
views on the roadblocks were "not only contrary, but
the exact opposite of the position taken by the (acting)
Commissioner Alleyne-Daly." Alfonso noted Alexander
had praised the position taken by a small group of officers
on March 23.
However, Seales reminded the minister that the tel-
evision programme was the "brainchild" of acting CoP
"It is not an association venture, so we have tried not
to comment in relation to what is going on in the pro-
gramme. But from time to time it is the responsibility
of the vice president (Alexander) to speak on behalf of
the association," he said.
Seales said the association "loves" its vice president
Minister Carl Alfonso
and it was Alexander s choice when to
wear his association hat and "that is a
consideration he has to exercise." He said
the association would prefer to leave it
up to Williams to decide whether Alexan-
der s statements were "diametrically
opposed to the acting commissioner of
police (Alleyne-Daly) and if the comments
were warranted or not."
Seales declined to say whether he felt
a CoE would be a waste of taxpayers
money. "From the standpoint of the asso-
ciation and in terms of the membership,
who are willing to participate, we would
not offer them advice as to whether it
(the CoE) is an exercise in futility or if it
is a whole waste of money. That is a deci-
sion they will have to make," he said.
Seales added that Government would
have to consult with their consultants and
do a cost-benefit analysis to determine
what kind of expenditure would be
involved and the benefit that might accrue
from such a CoE.
Police welfare body on proposed enquiry
We are ready to assist OTHER PROBE RECOMMENDATIONS
• A conference be held with First and Second
Division officers to refresh their memories on the
provisions of the Police Service Regulations and to
• Serious consideration be given to the
relationship between the officer who co-hosts the
television programme Beyond The Tape (Inspector
Roger Alexander) and the Police Service.
The investigator also recommended that officers
who did not participate in the March 23 exercise be
Another recommendation was that acting
Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, who was
out of the country on March 23, and three deputy
commissioners issue a public apology to the nation.
Then acting CoP Ann-Marie Alleyne-Day had
apologised to the nation on March 23.
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