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Rowley, cops in ‘racist placard’ talks

By Alexander Bruzual

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday met with a team of police officers assigned to investigate the display of placards bearing racist statements, during a public march in Port of Spain on May 23.
The meeting took place at the office of the Leader of the Opposition, Charles Street, Port of Spain, and lasted just over an hour.
Speaking to the media after, Rowley summarised his meeting with the officers.
“I was keen to have the meeting with them because I wanted to find out what was their interest in me and in this office, and it was clarified this morning. They were pursuing an assignment given to them by the (acting) Commissioner of Police (Stephen Williams) and the brief they had was, as written, pertained to allegations made by me.
“Now, I had to rectify that information because these were not allegations made by me, but rather these are pictures that are in the public domain. I didn’t produce the pictures, someone else did.
“What has to be determined now is whether those persons and placards existed and whether it was a breach of the law. Whether I commented or not on if the law had been broken, I expect that the police would respond,” said Rowley.
He said the meeting had left him concerned as to, if he had not commented on the issue and expressed his expectation that the police would find and prosecute these people, whether there would have been any action at all by the Police Service.
Rowley also said he was not of the view that the police had acted hastily in their investigations of this matter.
He added: “Those placards were out for display on 23rd of May. And under normal circumstances of effective policing, those persons holding those placards should have been of interest to the police on that very day. That’s, of course, my view.
“That having not been done, pictures were posted and it came to my attention. I was unaware this (situation) existed in Port of Spain that day. I think I got my first information on this sometime after midnight on that day. So the police did not act hastily on the 23rd.
“And my subsequent comments as a citizen, as a parliamentarian, as the leader of a political party, who was accused of either knowing or condoning this, I responded by saying that this is a matter for the police. And if the police is responding to that today, then better late than never. But my curiosity is what was my role in it? I have no role in it. I have commented on it and that was all. And must now await for the outcome of the investigation.
“And it is a peculiar matter here, as these offences were more than likely committed on camera and such matters should not be too difficult to solve.”
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