Police Commissioner Gary Griffith yesterday confirmed that three people have been arrested for the abduction of Natalie Pollonais, two of whom are police constables attached to the La Romaine Police Post.
In a media release yesterday, Griffith said the two constables were arrested around 8 pm Monday while on duty. The third person was arrested 30 minutes later when police intercepted an AD Wagon along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, San Juan.
The vehicle was being used to transport Pollonais and was driven by a civilian who was also arrested.
Griffith said contrary to initial reports, a corporal attached to the Highway Patrol Unit was not held in relation to the kidnapping. Photographs of the officer in uniform, as well as the two constables, went viral on social media overnight and threatening and disparaging comments were made against the men.
But in a release yesterday, police said the corporal was “in no way” involved in the investigation into the kidnapping and the public was urged to “cease and desist” from circulating statements that may be deemed defamatory in relation to the officer.
A senior officer told the T&T Guardian the corporal was at home yesterday when he learnt he was being wrongfully labelled a criminal. The officer then contacted the police hierarchy expressing his hurt at being accused of kidnapping. The officer confirmed the corporal was never part of their investigation.
Griffith, in acknowledging the public outrage at police’s alleged involvement in Pollonais’ kidnapping, also appealed to citizens “to not allow the acts of a misguided minority to adversely affect or impair their relationship with the police.”
Reinforcing his full confidence in his charges, Griffith also encouraged citizens to respect and obey the lawful instructions of police officers who have properly identified themselves.
He said citizens were also within their right to request the name and regimental number of any officer they meet, noting all officers are issued with identification cards which they are required to carry with them at all times.
According to the police, San Fernando CID worked in tandem with other operational units during Monday night’s rescue operation.
When the Organised Criminal Intelligence Unit and the Anti Kidnapping Units retrieved Pollonais and arrested the first suspect, a team comprising ASP Ramdeen, Insp Gajadhar, Cpl Bacchus, Cpl Pulchan, PC George, PC Lange, PC Moses and PC Acevero moved on the two constables. They were being held at an undisclosed location up to last night.
The T&T Guardian understands that over the weekend the errant officers were being monitored while other intelligence units gathered information about Pollonais’ location.
Pollonais, 49, of Palmiste, is the wife of Jason Pollonais, a director of the South Oropouche-based Inland and Offshore Contractors Ltd (IOCL). Last Thursday, she disappeared after visiting the Central Athletic Club gym and some stores at C3 Centre. CCTV footage showed she left in her BMW 5308 hybrid sedan around 11.30 am. Her husband reported her missing when she did not return home.
Intelligence suggested that the kidnappers were moving Pollonais to another location Monday, the T&T Guardian was told. A tactical unit was deployed and the wagon was intercepted.
A Ford Ranger, which was said to be accompanying the wagon, was found abandoned in St Augustine. The two vehicles were taken to the Special Evidence Recovery Unit (SERU) in Cumuto for forensic testing.