A photograph provided by the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union showing Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson gesturing as OWTU president general Ancel Roget is led away.
Cops detain Roget during SoE protest in Port of Spain
...DCP Mervyn Richardson leads him away
Carolyn Kissoon and Camille Bethel
Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) president general, Ancel Roget, was detained by police during a demonstration outside the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain this morning.
Roget was leading a "silent" protest to commemorate the second anniversary of the State of Emergency, which was declared by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar from August 21 to December 5 in 2011.
OWTU public relations officer Ozzi Warwick said deputy Commissioner of Police, Mervyn Richardson, intervened and ordered the march stopped.
"And after a conversation with the president general, Ancel Roget, he took him away."
Roget was held at the old police headquarters building in Port-of-Spain, Warwick said.
"We were just going around in a silent protest, no singing and chanting. We were doing our usual legal picket, as we always do and when the deputy commissioner of police came, and after conversation took him away," he said.
Warwick said there was no confrontation between the police and demonstrators, as Roget accompanied the officers. Roget was not handcuffed, he said.
"We were just seeking clarification and the deputy commissioner said he needed to make a call. So it seems that he took instructions, we don't know who he called or who gave the instructions. He came back and he told us to move and if we are not willing to move then he would like Mr Roget to accompany him to the police station," he said.
The demonstration moved to outside the police station, where a group of OWTU members are marching and chanting union songs.
Last year, Roget led the amalgamated unions in two silent marches at the foot of the Hall of Justice and the Parliament building.
Following his release Roget at around 11 a.m., Roget addressed the media and the members of the joint trade union, saying that his detention was a distraction from the real issue.
" I wish to remind the members of the media and the members of the public that it is correct to say that our democracy is under serious attack in this country and ours is the profound responsibility. Every single citizen has a duty and a responsibility to guard jealously that democracy and it will manifest in many different ways, the likes of which we saw this morning".
Roget said members of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) came to the Hall of Justice to protest because they felt that it was the appropriate place to signal that justice is not being meted out to the people of the country.
“Exactly two years ago on this day the rights of citizens were taken away from them. You could not move about as freely as you ought to and as a result of that SOE, businesses closed down, jobs were lost. And we believe that that state of emergency was called not against the criminals not to fight crime but precisely against us in the labour movement.”
(from the Multimedia Desk)