The Opposition is again calling for acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to explain his presence at the police station when former minister in the Ministry of National Security, Collin Partap, was detained.
Williams's independence was once again called into question by both Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and Senator Fitzgerald Hinds at a media conference at Rowley's office in Port of Spain yesterday. Rowley said Partap should not be granted any special treatment by the police of the Commissioner of Police because of his Government connection.
"The Minister in the Ministry of National Security finds himself in this situation and the Commissioner of Police gets himself mixed up in this. If people find themselves requiring lawyers let them call lawyers," Rowley said.
"We are demanding answers from the Commissioner of Police and 'no comment' is not an appropriate response," he said.
Rowley said he expected that by mid-morning yesterday, Williams would have made a public statement, but so far none has been forthcoming to clarify his role.
"As I speak to you, you know, I have heard no clarifying statement from the Commissioner of Police. So this evening, I am requesting of him for preservation of the independence of his office that the Commissioner identify and explain himself in the matter by way of appropriate statement," he said.
"We want the acting Commissioner to tell us just what he was doing there, what he did there and if it had anything to do with Mr Partap walking out of there uncharged. He may have gone to use the bathroom, I don't know," he said.
"The Commissioner of Police ... like Caesar's wife, must be beyond reproach," he said.
"We have to be certain that we have independent police officers and an independent Commissioner of Police. We were concerned that the independence, that very valuable requirement for the office of the Commission of Police to be independent and to treat all of us with the same response. We are concerned that some people in this Government believe and want to be treated like they are above the law," he said.
Rowley said the police should be allowed to carry on their duties without interference.
"If the police had reason to believe a citizen was attempting to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated that has nothing to do with his (Partap's) job. If he was a private citizen in a private job, he may not have been fired," he said.
He said too that the PNM was not satisfied with just Partap's political removal.
"Mr Partap's dismissal is not a substitute for legal action. The police could not have said that the Prime Minister will deal with that so I will exonerate you? No," he said.
Rowley said he also wanted to know what Williams meant when he said he took "leadership" of the situation at the police station and questioned whether that meant he had no confidence in the trained police officers.
"We want to know the details of that leadership that he took," Rowley said.
Williams, in a telephone interview on Sunday, had confirmed that he "stepped in to take charge" of the situation involving Partap.
"It was imperative for me to assume direct leadership and the matter was addressed. I am preparing an official report for the Minister of National Security on the matter," he said.