Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith last night rubbished the opinion of “armchair experts” bent on criticising the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for their action in roadblocks during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home measure.
During an interview during the CNC3 newscast, Griffith blasted criminologist Professor Ramesh Deosaran “and others” whom he said did not know anything about real law enforcement.
Griffith’s ire comes in the wake of constant criticism of the TTPS for creating hours of traffic gridlock due to the roadblock exercises and sending citizens back home if their trips were not considered essential although the police did not have the legal power to do so.
Asked whether there was a gap between what the legislation allowed and what was actually enforceable last night, Griffith said, “There is no gap. The fact is the persons you spoke to are not experts. This continues to be the problem here, everyone is an armchair critic, who have absolutely no knowledge of law enforcement.”
While the newscast had opinions from Deosaran, attorney Martin Daly and Dean of Law at the University of the West Indies Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Griffith seemed to single out Deosaran. (See Page 9)
“Professor Deosaran knows nothing about law enforcement. His job is to understand the cause of crime, so what they continue to do is to give the impression that they are law enforcement experts. They do not know the difference between a baton and a bullet,” he said.
On Thursday, former attorney general Anand Ramlogan took to social media to tell citizens that the police had no authority to force anyone to go back home and not go about their business during the Stay-at-Home measures.
“We see attorneys as well trying to do the same thing. I can explain, our police officers are totally well trained in total contrast to these false, misleading and mischievous comments by Professor Deosaran and others,” Griffith said.
Griffith said that he never confused the difference between what was the law and what needed persuasion. He said from day one he had acknowledged there was no law to prevent anyone from going outdoors.
“Now we have everyone jumping on the bandwagon. All we are doing is trying to use persuasion, we cannot police stupidity, there is a law of common sense,” Griffith said, noting citizens must be aware that leaving their homes puts them at risk of contracting the virus.
He said all the police can enforce is what has been put in the Public Health Ordinance and those regulations pertaining to assembly, stores that can and cannot be opened.
“Those are the things, nothing has changed,” he said.
“What we are seeing is poor leadership where persons are demanding, guiding and representing citizens via insisting that it’s their right to do wrong.”