The gloves are off when dealing with communities such as the Beetham Gardens following the riots there on Sunday and yesterday.
This was stated yesterday by acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams who added that “you have to follow the right way in bringing home your concerns”.
“It’s just wrong and as a society, Trinidad and Tobago cannot continue to condone such behaviour by some of its citizens because, I mean, everybody speaks about rights but where is the rights of the normal citizen travelling along the Beetham Highway or the Priority Bus Route and the Eastern Main Road? What about the rights of those citizens?” he asked.
Williams was speaking to reporters following a handing-over ceremony of a number of computers and printers to the Crime and Problem Analysis Branch (CAPA) of the Police Service to aid in the gathering of information as it relates to crime throughout the country.
Williams’s take on the Beetham Gardens riots which began on Sunday is that the Police Service has been as co-operative as possible when it came to concerns of residents in that community and now the rule of law needed to be followed.
The series of incidents began on Sunday around 6.30 p.m. when a resident named Christopher Greaves, aged 23, was shot by the police.
The residents alleged that for absolutely no reason whatsoever the police pursued Greaves and shot him following which they took him to the Port of Spain General Hospital after they (the residents) pleaded with the police to do so.
The police, on the other hand, said Greaves was seen with a hand-gun he was about to draw from his waist when he spotted a party of patrolling officers. Police said they ordered him to drop the weapon and he refused and he attempted to fire at the police which prompted them to shoot him.
Williams said, “It is a straight case of there will reach the point where being as co-operative as possible in identifying and recognising people’s concerns and their rights to exercise their views and feelings towards matters because somewhere along the line you have to reach the point of getting tough on situations like this.”
He added, “I think we are at that point where we need to get extremely tough as a clear signal to the citizens, you have to follow the right way of bringing home your concerns.”
Williams added, “It is so wrong for people to be bringing their concerns to the inconvenience and even by way of criminality cause havoc against other citizens.”
He further added, “If there is a situation where a member of society is shot and killed there is supposed to be an investigation. We have a mechanism which is the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) who will also investigate the matter and we have a system where there is an inquest court with a coroner sitting at an inquest court who will make a clear determination whether there is wrongdoing by the police and if so the coroner will give the relevant direction and that’s the system of a democratic and civil society.”