Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2013 Contents A5
Friday, August 23, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Acting Commissioner of Police
Stephen Williams says members
of the Joint Trade Union Move-
ment (JTUM) were illegally con-
ducting a demonstration outside
the Hall of Justice on Wednesday
and as it was against the law all
the protesters could have been
Members of the JTUM wore
black clothing, covered their faces
with handkerchiefs and carried big
black sticks with flags during the
demonstration. President general
of the OWTU Ancel Roget was
detained but later was released
from police custody.
Speaking yesterday, after he met
with the children at the Beetham
Police Youth Club, Beetham Gar-
dens, Williams reiterated the action
He added: "Does that make it
legal? Does that make it right?
Once something is wrong, it is
wrong. Once something is illegal
it is illegal.
"It is clear and I am hoping the
media could ask union leaders is
what you did legal? I cannot
account for Police Service actions
last year and I am saying the law
is there in black and white. It was
wrong. It was a criminal offence."
He said DCP Mervyn Richard-
son, who detained Roget, could
have laid charges against Roget but
chose not to.
"Richardson, exercising some
level of discretion, tried to engage
the union leader by sharing with
him what was wrong on the mat-
ter. He could have arrested him
and charged him and charged
them. If it wrong, it wrong," he
Williams gave an example of a
thief who robs a house and has
never been caught. The second
time, the owner makes a report
and the thief is caught by the
"What will you say? I did it
already and never got caught? It
is still wrong and wrong is wrong,"
Williams said the group was not
given permission to protest and
under the Public Holidays and Fes-
tival Act any person in disguise is
committing an offence.
He also said the Police Service
Act states the police have a right
to keep order outside all courts.
"And that is High Court, isn t it?"
In relation to his visit at the
youth club, Williams said: "Today
is changing the dynamics of young
people. It is really about having a
lasting, positive impression on
"What we are about in the Police
Service today is, we are seeking to
change the young people s direction
and teenagers gunning down each
other with no implications of that.
Life is not precious to them."
Williams said they would work
to help shape and influence the
children to be productive citizens.
He added: "We are trying to use
this mechanism across T&T to
change the direction of our young
people. I hope they are not gunmen
and dealing with drugs.
"The sky is the limit. We are
trying to expose them to oppor-
tunity with core values, integrity,
discipline, respect that becomes
part of their DNA."
He said there were 17 youth clubs
across the country and praised for-
mer Insp Sheila Prince for her ded-
ication and work at the Beetham
The children sang and played
musical instruments as part of the
Prince said there was hope for
the children but funds were a prob-
Assistant Commissioner Earl
Gonzales and ASP Joanne Archie
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, centre in background, in a group photo with children from the
Beetham Gardens Police Youth Club along with, from left, ACP Earl Gonzales, head of the Community Policing
Unit, Youth Club director former inspector Sheila Prince, second from left, back, and paediatrician Dr Narad
Mathura, during a visit to the club yesterday morning. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Acting CoP on unions' protest:
The Public Holidays and Festivals Act section 5 states:
Any person who appears in public masked or otherwise
disguised, except during a public festival at which he is
authorised to do so by regulations under sub-section
(2), is liable to a fine of $1,000 and to imprisonment for
They all faced charges
There is no law in T&T that says
people can only wear masks at Carnival
Former Attorney General Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, SC, said so yesterday
when asked to comment on the deten-
tion of Oilfields Workers Trade Union
(OWTU) leader Ancel Roget outside of
the Hall of Justice on Wednesday.
He was arrested and detained for less
than an hour before being released by
Roget and other activists, according
to police, wore black clothing and cov-
ered their faces with handkerchiefs,
leading police to see the group as a
In an interview yesterday, Maharaj
said while the Summary Offences Act
said if you had to have a march or public
meeting, police permission was needed,
Roget s action could not have been
described as either of those things.
He added: "What they were doing
were protesting and there is no law in
T&T prohibiting individuals from
"There is a distinction between a
protest and a march. The Constitution
grants freedom of expression and for
the police to say permission was needed
in order to have a protest is trying to
change the law without Parliament."
Maharaj said it was not unlawful for
individuals to cover their faces and gave
an example of members of the Muslim
population, who covered their faces but
were not arrested.
"There is nothing to say you can only
put on a mask at Carnival time," he
Maharaj also commented on the rea-
son given by Deputy Commissioner of
Police Mervyn Richardson, who told
reporters he thought the scene was
"It is a national joke. There could be
no reasonable basis to make that sort
of statement," he said.
Maharaj said Roget s detention was
However, Dana Seetahal, SC, dis-
In an interview, she said if the pro-
testers were indeed wearing a mask or
something akin to a disguise then the
Summary Offences Act permitted police
to arrest someone found to be commit-
ting an offence.
Seetahal also felt it was necessary to
apply to police in advance of holding a
march or a public meeting in a dem-
"As a society we need to be productive
and police would be needed to divert
traffic in some cases and for safety rea-
sons," said Seetahal, noting some march-
es are held in the middle of the day.
"You also have to look at security for
the marchers themselves. Their might
be people who disagree with whatever
cause people may be marching for," she
Lawyers differ on cops' action
Fans of Jehue Gordon, who won gold
in the men s 400 metre hurdles at the
recent IAAF World Athletics Cham-
pionships in Moscow, Russia, "will be
very happy" to hear what he will be
receiving from the Government for his
Sports Minister Anil Roberts yesterday
only gave a hint to the media, but
assured: "You will be very happy. It will
Roberts, at a press conference at his
Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, min-
istry, said a note went to Cabinet yes-
terday and Government would discuss
it before revealing the details to the pub-
lic.He said it would be finalised by Mon-
day, would most likely be approved at
next Thursday s Cabinet meeting and
the media would be informed at the
post-Cabinet media conference.
Gordon had already received $300,000
from the Government from the Elite
Fund for athletes to assist with his train-
ing, Roberts said.
He said under the fund, athletes like
Gordon, get about $250,000 a year for
the four-year quadrennial going into
That was to help with training, pay
psychologists, sports massage therapists,
gym fees and school fees. They normally
got the money in two tranches of
$100,000 each over 12 months, he added.
"Jehue has been one who has been
working very hard and has the full sup-
port of the ministry. He got his full
tranches of $250,000, plus an extra
$50,000," Roberts said.
Roberts said the ministry continued
to support not only Gordon but all ath-
letes, continuously analysing their per-
Based on the analyses, sometimes the
funding went up and sometimes it went
down, he said.
He added: "We have between 33 and
41 athletes on the programme, including
some young ones. We are looking to
bring them up. Not all of them get the
$250,000... sometimes they get from
Roberts said the athletes have to
account properly for the money given
by providing bills and some have not
been doing that as well as they should.
He said the ministry did not like to
penalise them for that and hold back
Govt has 'goodies'
for Jehue, says Anil
Summary Offences Act
109. (1) A person who desires to hold or call
together any public meeting shall, at least 48
hours but no more than 14 days before the
day on which it is proposed to hold such
meeting, notify the Commissioner of Police.
(7) Any person who---
(a) holds any public meeting without
notifying the Commissioner of Police;
(b) calls together or holds a public meeting
that has been prohibited...
is liable to a fine of $10,000 or to
imprisonment for two years.
110. (1) No public meeting may be conducted
in such a manner so as to result in a public
march that is not permitted by the
Commissioner of Police under section 114 and
if a public meeting is conducted in such a
manner that such a public march takes place
at such a public meeting, the holder of such
public meeting is guilty of an offence.
(2) Any person guilty of an offence under
sub-section (1) is liable to a fine of $4,000
and to imprisonment for 18 months.
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