AS members of the Police Service continue to express their displeasure over the proposed legislation to grant soldiers the power of arrest, the Police Service and Welfare Association is planning two candle-light vigils as its latest form of protest.
One of the vigils will take place next Wednesday, beginning at Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain from 6 p.m., and will end at the Police Administration Building on Sackville Street.
Simultaneously, there will be another vigil taking place in Tobago.
So said president of the association Sgt Anand Ramesar yesterday. Ramesar was speaking to members of the media following a general council meeting among members of the association at Besson Street Police Station.
The vigil, Ramesar said, would be headed by former president of the association, Emrol Bruce.
"The theme of that (vigil) is 'Preserve the impartiality and the integrity of the Police Service' and, most of all, the independence of the Police Service. Police officers and their families will be in attendance," said Ramesar.
He added that the association was again renewing its call for acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to state what is his current position as it relates to the proposed legislation.
Ramesar said Williams was asked to attend yesterday's meeting but he indicated he was unable to do so.
"We believe that the Commissioner of Police is too silent on the issue and that we need a leader who is aligned with the concerns of the membership and one who is clearly sensitised about how we feel about the current proposed legislation.
"We feel this legislation will truly injure the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and does have the potential to create a high level of disfunctionality."
Ramesar said the association was giving Williams until tomorrow to respond to its requests, or "we will have to take a course of action that really demonstrates our level of confidence in him".
During a meeting between members of the association and National Security Minister Jack Warner on Tuesday to discuss the proposed legislation, Ramesar said several alternatives were provided to the Minister.
Among those alternatives were the willingness of retired police officers to again join the fight against crime and the use of special reserve police officers.
Also, Ramesar said, if any soldier was desirous of becoming a police officer, they should first resign their position in the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment and join the Police Service.
Last Friday, several hundred police officers from both the First and Second Divisions signed a petition in protest of the legislation.
Ramesar said, since then, the association has learnt that some of those officers have been threatened, while others were offered houses and other items to not sign the petition.