Nizam to CoP: Take a deep breath

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.  -
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith. -

Former chairman of the Police Service Commission Nizam Mohammed is calling on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to "take a deep breath and reassess his approach to communication."

In an interview with Newsday on Tuesday, Mohammed also said there is generally an urgent need for every public figure to have a clear understanding of the sensitivity of the society in these uncertain times.

Former Police Service Commission chairman Nizam Mohammed

Mohammed was asked to comment on the public sparring between the Prime Minister and Griffith over the enforcement of the Public Health Ordinance regulations which are in place to tackle the spread of covid19.

During a covid19 briefing at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's on Saturday, Dr Rowley called on Griffith to ensure that anyone in breach of the regulations feel the full brunt of the law.

"In TT we expect that the law will be applied to every person regardless of race, colour, creed or class, or social standing."

The statement was made after an outcry by members of the public who accused the police of not being even handed when dealing with people who are perceived to be wealthy. The police were recently called to the gated Bayside Towers, Cocorite where there was a poolside birthday party with several people gathered.

But instead of being arrested for possibly being in breach of the regulations which prohibit the number of people allowed to socially gather in a public space to five, the police warned the partygoers. In their defence, Griffith said there was nothing they could have done, since the party was being held on a private compound.

Responding to Rowley's statement, Griffith on Sunday said he was disappointed, especially as there was nothing in the regulations which empowers the police, without a warrant, to enter private property and charge people for breaching the regulations.

This led to a meeting on Monday which Griffith, acting deputy commissioners Jayson Forde and M Donald Jacob were "summoned" to by Rowley, who was accompanied by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Mohammed told Newsday, "The situation calls for mature and measured responses and exchanges which would bring solace and reassurance to the population at large, rather than exacerbate the continuing rising tensions.

"This situation must be abated. It is time to stop utterances that border on recklessness, and appreciate the insecurity that this pandemic has brought about at every level in this society."

Mohammed said given the present atmosphere, the country could do well without public officials coming across as if they themselves are in a state of panic. He said people who are in positions of authority need help from the wider public and also need to depend on each other for the benefit of all.


"Nizam to CoP: Take a deep breath"

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