Police officers have been advised to ignore public advice from the chairman of the National Security Council that they have the authority to arrest people on their private property for breaches of the covid19 regulations.
In a broadcast message to all police officers on Sunday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith described the Prime Minister's comments at Saturday's press conference as an attempt to give a "misleading perception."
Griffith told his charges that Dr Rowley was "trying to throw the police under the bus due to his failure to draft laws giving police authority to charge persons for breach" of the public health regulations on private property.
"Please advise all officers to adhere to their oath and enforce laws. A press conference cannot enact a law. We can take the easy way out and listen to him and start arresting any house (sic) with more than five visitors. But we are professional. Let us adhere to enforcing the law. All we can do if there is mass assembly in private property is to advise, warn and disperse. We arrest and the State pays for wrongful arrest," the broadcast to divisional commanders said.
The public spat over the enforcement of the regulations was triggered by the police's inability to arrest a group of people who were gathered around a communal pool at Bayside Towers, Cocorite, last week and caused a torrent of criticism over police targeting other people who took a chance by bathing in the sea or in a river or stream.