Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, has voiced his disappointment, yet again, with certain organisations, over their interpretation and subsequent public call not to heed the procedure advanced by the Commissioner of Police.
According to a TTPS release, the Commissioner of Police is disquieted as to why these organisations would undermine the procedure rather than have a conversation with himself and/or the Attorney General, with the aim of positively contributing to steps being taken to flatten the curve, especially with the sharp increase in Covid-19 deaths, positive cases per day and the saturation of our healthcare system.
As stated on Monday in the CoP’s media briefing, it was anticipated that persons will try to adopt a technical interpretation of the law, which cannot serve the best interest of the public of Trinidad and Tobago in good stead. Whilst Regulation 4(5) of the Emergency Powers Regulations, 2021 expressly provides for an exemption, it will be foolhardy, to say the least, that this can be given a literal, ordinary and plain meaning. What is called for here is a purposive approach, that is to say, what was the intention of the law makers? It is abundantly clear that it is not for the entire farming industry, banking industry, energy sector, grocery industry, market industry, hardware industry, security industry, shipping industry, protective services and every person deemed to be an essential worker to be lawfully out in the public during curfew hours, but rather, for those who would ONLY be required to work during the specified hours of 9 pm to 5 am.
The clear intention of the State of Emergency is to reduce the movement of persons.
The top Cop said if the combined essential workers are to all be literally considered exempted, then what these organisations are saying is that an excess of 360,000 persons are free to roam the streets during a State of Emergency, more particularly an implemented curfew period. Is it these organisations are encouraging over ¼ of the population to put themselves and others at risk in these perilous times, all in an effort to undermine the good work of the TTPS, merely to advance their own agenda?
The CoP said he has gone through more than 8,000 letters, completed the exercise, and has approved curfew passes for about 10,000 persons, out of requests made for 360,000. He says these persons must come to the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, to collect the passes. He said if there are more requests for passes, there would be further discussion.