FLASHBACK February: Participants durng a candle light vigil for murder victim Andrea Bharat in Palmiste Park, San Fernando.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has distanced himself from the current ongoing political debate over who was responsible for promoting vigils held in remembrance of murder victim Andrea Bharatt.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said that the vigils led to the spike in COVID-19 cases that grew into the figures there are today.

At a media conference yesterday, Griffith made it clear that he was the one who had put a stop to vigils and protests, after thousands of citizens began converging for these events despite COVID-19 regulations prohibiting public gatherings.

Rowley laid blamed at the feet of the Opposition during a debate in Parliament on Monday. The Opposition hit back, saying it was the movement of people over the Easter holidays in Tobago that caused the spike, adding that Rowley had invited people to travel to Tobago.

Griffith said he won’t get involved in the current political spat surrounding the vigils but added he saw for himself that the gatherings were a definite matter of concern for law enforcement officers.

He said that he received reports of 67 confirmed protests, vigils and marches with attendances varying from 100 to as many as 5,000 people and added that “something had to be done.”

“We could have easily gone hard and fast and then had we done so, persons would have accused the State, they would have accused the Police Service of not allowing them their right to protest, their right to grieve, their right to be heard. It was a difficult situation. I made the decision, enough was enough, and we put a stop to it,” Griffith said. – See page 6