Guness Bhagwandeen yesterday admitted that the presence of two marked police vehicles outside his businessplace - Hi Way Roti Shop in Freeport - has resulted in heavy loss of sales. He is demanding immediate action by Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to have these police officers removed.
On Tuesday in the Senate, Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen raised the issue of the unnecessary police presence outside the roti shop preventing drivers from stopping in the lay-by to purchase roti.
Ramdeen said while the Police Service is almost 1,500 officers short of its sanctioned strength, “we have almost three robberies a day, two vehicle larceny per day, people being raped, murdered and kidnapped throughout TT…yet the Police Service has the resources to have two police vehicles parked up at the Hi Way Roti Shop with four officers, two in each vehicle, for about 12 hours every day, guarding the Hi Way Roti Shop.”
Yesterday, Bhagwandeen said Ramdeen,who is his attorney, had been informed of the situation and added that he had even seen the police on the lay-by with mikes, telling potential customers, “Proceed, proceed do not stop here.” Bhagwandeen said he discovered that a man who has put his name forward to be either the next Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Police may be linked to the presence of the four policemen outside his roti shop. Bhagwandeen said when he opened his roti shop in 1981 the Ministry of Works created a lay-by so that his customers could park and go to his shop without infringing the traffic laws.
Contacted for comment, an officer who confirmed he is among the four who have been assigned to park up outside the roti shop five days a week, told Newsday that all of their pleas to senior officers to be reassigned have been ignored. “You see this, this here is what you call wasting police time. But when you receive an instruction from a senior officer, you have to obey or else face disciplinary action for dereliction of duty,” the officer said. “We are glad the information is out in the public domain so people can judge for themselves,” the officer said.
Up to yesterday, two marked police vehicles with four officers remained in the lay-by of the Solomon Hochoy Highway chasing away Bhagwandeen’s would be customers.