George: THA has no legal power to set up Tobago police unit

Martin George -
Martin George -

CHAIRMAN of the Tobago Business Chamber Martin George is concerned about Tobago’s crime situation as well as the plans to form a THA police unit.

Up to May 22, Tobago had recorded ten murders for this year so far, with the latest being 32-year-old Samuel "Indian" Maharaj of Mt Zion in Whim, gunned down in Mt Grace on May 18.

George, in a video via WhatsApp on May 21, said: “It is a cause for concern. It is a cause for alarm by all right-thinking individuals and of course there will be the necessary search for solutions.”

He hastened to add that the idea of a THA police unit, as announced on May 17 by THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, is not as simple as it seems.

Augustine announced the establishment of the unit as part of a broader Department of Public Safety, to work alongside the police in trying to halt the island's worsening violent crime situation.

George said: “It is not as simple or simplistic as it might appear to be, as I am hearing from our politicians. We first have to look at the THA Act, and there is nothing in the act which seems to lay down the parameters or fundamentals for the establishment of any such Tobago police service. Even when one looks at what is set out in the fifth schedule as the areas of responsibility, you see there is nothing there which says that the THA has responsibility to provide for the safety and security of the citizens or residents, the persons in Tobago."

He said the law specifically said the THA had no responsibility for national security. "So it’s difficult to even find a starting point or a jumping point to say, well, you can set the legal parameters for establishing a Tobago police service or a THA police service.”

As a result, he said, legislative interventions by Parliament would be necessary.

“If Mr Augustine is serious about that, what he needs to do is to look at the question of having discussions about preparing a draft bill for that to be sent to the Parliament, or to revive the draft bill which already had been prepared and tweak it and try to see if that can be put forth to the national Parliament for approval or ratification to become the force of law in legislation.”


"George: THA has no legal power to set up Tobago police unit"

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