Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says people will not be allowed to set fires, block roads and play ignorant of their actions following last Friday’s protest for water in Woodlands.
His warning comes after councillor Doodnath Mayrhoo and alderman Dinesh Sankersingh, of the Siparia Regional Corporation, met with Insp Lyndon Douglas of the Penal Police Station on Monday to answer questions over their involvement in the protest.
They indicated that between 5.30 am and 8 am last Friday, they went to Pluck Road as councillor for the area and legal adviser respectively.
According to police, both men said that when they arrived at the protest, the residents had already placed burning debris onto the road and advised the protesters against blocking the roadway any further.
“The two officials further denied that they encouraged the residents to engage in any illegal actions,” a release said.
Last Friday’s protest caused traffic to pile up for several kilometres, delaying those going to work, school and carrying out their jobs.
During an interview, Mayrhoo had told Guardian Media Ltd that residents had no water to bathe, wash and other things and should the situation continue, they would take the protest to Parliament’s doorsteps.
The protest, residents said, was the result of weeks of frustration of not having an adequate water supply from WASA. Several of them said they have to spend $700 weekly to purchase water while still have to pay their water bill. Eventually, fire officers arrived to extinguish the debris and clear it from the road. By the time police arrived, most of the protesters had already left.
Yesterday, the police again warned against blocking the roads, saying that it was contrary to Section 6, Regulation 38 of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act. This states that “every driver shall not negligently or wilfully prevent, hinder or interrupt the free passage of any vehicles, person or animal, and shall not allow such motor vehicle and any trailer drawn thereby to stand in such road so as to cause any unnecessary obstruction thereto.”
However, the residents were not necessarily drivers and no vehicle was used in the protest.
The police said such actions disrupt traffic, affects productivity, inconveniences and endangers other citizens, and in some cases, delays persons who are in need of emergency services. Any person who commits the offence of obstruction, annoyance or danger to any resident or passers-by is liable to a fine of $200 or one month imprisonment.