Certainly a blast-off yesterday to the Second Session of the Eleventh Parliament.
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Rowley: Police Service headless
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has made the Police Service an eunuch, causing soldiers to push them aside. During a People’s National Movement public meeting at the Massy Stores carpark, St Augustine, on Tuesday night, Rowley said the army had taken the position that the police had collapsed. “He has converted the Police Service to a eunuch. The Police Service is headless and the criminals know it,” Rowley said.
He said that was why the army “pushed aside” the police in order to investigate the death of one of their own, Lance Cpl Kayode Thomas, who was killed in Laventille last month. Rowley called on the Defence Force to refrain from tarnishing the reputation of the army. He said he had been filled with pride several times while observing T&T soldiers delivering aid in Haiti, St Vincent, Dominica and other countries.
He added: “I want to say to the head of the Defence Force tonight, you have a proud tradition. You are one of the few of the country’s institutions where the vast majority of people feel that you represent the best that this country has to offer. “Do not do anything to bring your army or your Coast Guard into disrepute. “In this period of disorder, I am asking the Defence Force, do not do anything that would tarnish the well-earned reputation of the Defence Force.”
Rowley said the fact that Minister of National Security Gary Griffith condoned the action by soldiers made the situation worse. He slammed the Government for a crime plan which included “comfort police” and questioned Government’s failure to appoint a Commissioner of Police. Rowley told the crowd his community had recently experienced a situation where men wearing red shirts were patrolling the area in an Almera car. Rowley said when he approached the men, he was told they were comfort police.
He added: “They should appoint a Commissioner of Police but instead of doing that and raising the morale of police officers, they appoint comfort police to drive around in strange cars and bringing comfort. “What I want to know, is the persons who you put out there to play police, do they have police uniforms? How do we know who they are? Are they armed? Are they trained in policing? How many millions are you paying for cars for them?” he asked.
Rowley said the Opposition had gone to Government with a ten-point plan and only a proper police service could respond effectively to the crime problem. “You cannot have a proper police service if the head of the Police Service is on a ten days. Mr Williams is on a permanent ten days,” said Rowley. Williams has been acting as CoP since 2012 and has had his contract extended for several six-month periods.