There is now conflicting information about the future of the Moriah Police Station, after residents claim they were told the station would be closed from today (January 15), only for Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to subsequently say the station will remain open.
Residents of Moriah and environs told Guardian media yesterday that officers had told them that as of today, they were being reassigned to other stations on the island and the Moriah station would be closed.
But the residents reacted angrily to this, saying they were worried as there are at least 25 business in the community, including small shops and bars. They noted crime was a growing concern and constant police presence was needed in the area, as it gives them a sense of security.
Odari Sebro, who owns an agro supply shop and restaurant in the community, said when he heard the rumour he walked to the police station a short distance away and one of the officers confirmed the station was to be closed.
“The officers themselves didn’t even know anything, they only got their transfer letters today (yesterday). They say they weren’t even given time to pack – just move,” Sebro told Guardian Media.
“I find that is real ridiculous because none of the business persons in the community were informed that they were about the close the station they never told us anything.”
Sebro said this is not the first time residents had heard about plans to close the station but noted they had rejected the idea during a public meeting with senior T&T Police Service officials last year and were assured the station would remain in the area.
Anishelle Phillips meanwhile said the relocation of the station would definitely impact on the daily lives of citizens.
“When the police not around, people does take the initiative to do whatever they want. Everybody does only put on their seatbelt when they see the police or passing by the station when the police not there, if they close, everybody will be doing what they want so that won’t be safe for the village.”
Another resident, Hayden Kerr, was concerned for the safety of the area, noting the Moriah station serves a large section of the island.
“Personally, I think that is real foolishness because that is the only police station that is serving parts of Mason Hall right up until parts of Castara, Parlattuvier back to Golden Lane how can they do something like that?” Kerr said.
There are currently six police stations in Tobago but the Moriah station is the only one in the North Eastern end of the island and covers the seven to eight miles between Castara and Parlattuvier.
Contacted on the matter yesterday, however, CoP Griffith said the Moriah Police Station was, in fact, being “refurbished, like all other stations.”
He did not, however, say if the station would be closed and for how long during the process.
The same questions were posed to head of the TTPS in Tobago, Senior Superintendent Anand Ramesar. However, he said it was “too premature to say what is going to happen at the Moriah Police Station.”
The TTPS subsequently issued a release saying the Moriah station would remain open. The release noted that reports made to the station were “very rare, given that there was an average of one report per week during the period January to November 2020.”
However, the release said there will be a new normal in the way police officers operate and instead remaining in the station waiting for reports to be made, the officers will now be out on patrol showing an increase in visibility in public.