Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says the absence of Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs from the country during the institution of a limited state of emergency is "madness." He said it was "sufficiently troublesome" for the Government to warrant a state of emergency days after the killings in Arima where four people were shot but not so serious to demand that Gibbs remain at home and contribute to national protection. Rowley said: "If this is not madness, you tell me what is." He was speaking at a news conference yesterday at the Office of the Opposition Leader on Charles Street, Port-of-Spain.
Rowley said the day after the killings, the Government approved Gibbs' leave of absence. "So here it is you are reacting to the massacre with a state of emergency because no government can sit quietly and watch this happen and do nothing," he said. "The Government had to do something and as I said, governments have options, so you had to respond. "This happened on Thursday night and we are now finding out...the Government is now admitting they approved the absence from the country of the Commissioner of Police." He said one of the main components of the National Security Council which formed part of any serious deliberations about activities concerning the operationalisation of a state of emergency was absent.
He said the Government declared a state of emergency on the country by accident. He claimed the entire process of a state of emergency was run by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. Rowley also raised questions about Ramlogan's credibility. "When the Arima situation took place, the panic didn't take place because of any consideration or concern for the people, it was out of concern for how it (crime rate) stashes up against last year," he said. He claimed Government operated to always gain political mileage under the guise of being concerned about the well-being of citizens.