Friday, February 23, 2018

Williams stays mum

...but makes appeal for improved border protection

ACTING Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams yesterday steered clear of answering any questions on the $644m cocaine bust in Virginia, USA, last December.

“I am not in a position to comment on that investigation,” he said, in response to the first question.

Asked again, he said, “I can’t comment at all at this time.”

Williams was speaking at the weekly police news briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain. He was flanked by Insp Anand Ramesar and Insp Michael Seales, president and vice-president respectively of the Police Social and Welfare Asso­ci­ation.

Pressed further about one of the lar­gest cocaine seizures abroad which originated from Trinidad and Tobago, Williams replied, “To date, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service has not commented on that matter.”

Replying to another question about the country’s apparently porous borders, Williams said, “We continue to make clear our position that it is critical for Trinidad and Tobago to have improved border protection for both legal and illegal ports of entry, and we also made recommendations as to how we can secure our borders.”

Williams however spoke about his meeting with the Police Social and Welfare Association, which they have been having over the last few days, stating, “We have agreed in promotion matters and we think that this will make a difference in policing.”

The association recently stated its support for the police’s drive in reducing the country’s murder toll but which also meant several of their members would be denied leave. This, according to Ramesar, caused a drop in motivation and morale within the service as their efforts to combat crime were being seen as bearing little or no fruit with regard to the promotion of their members, which they described as “overdue”.

Ramesar further explained, “Our membership felt low motivation and morale and key to that is the promotion issue.”

He said what the association recommended to the Commissioner was that they “change the criteria with regard to promotions and make the process shorter, and once that is improved, then the CoP can easily generate a merit list”.

Ramesar explained that before meeting the top cop, he met with his second division charges and said, “They don’t mind going the extra mile but what hinders them psychologically is the lack of promotions, but now with this issue dealt with, they can go back to their principles of policing.”

• See Page 8