Minister of National Security and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, responding to a question during the sitting of the Senate yesterday.

National Security Minister Stuart Young said yesterday that it is not an easy task for the 7,000 police officers to be called upon to do the “unenviable” job of interpreting regulations to keep the public safe in the COVID situation.

He was replying in the Senate yesterday to NC Senator Wade Mark’s query about the police’s shutting down of the sale of pre-packaged doubles at the St Christopher’s Service Station and of pre-packed food at Massy Stores, Woodbrook.

Commenting on the incorrect legal basis for the action, Young said the police aren’t always going “to get it right”.

He said as soon as the Police Commissioner became aware of the situation, he moved “with alacrity, and after consulting the National Security ministry, he issued an apology.”

“It was corrected in minutes not hours,” Young said.

Young said that in daily policing of any nation, frontline officers will have different interpretations. Young also said the error was made because some are trying to find loopholes in regulations. He said certain restaurants which aren’t being allowed to open are cooking and feezing food and doing curbside pick-up, “Maybe this is what they (police) were after….“

Young thanked police and security arms for taking on the COVID fight.

Mark asked if Massy Stores, which he claimed was a ”PNM financier“, could be involved in ”mischief“ against the regulations with having pre-packaged food. The query wasn’t allowed by Senate President Christine Kangaloo.

On another Opposition query, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said Unilever Caribbean Limited will cease all manufacturing operations locally and partially restructure, and had proposed to retrench 286 workers in the exercise.

She said Unilver in a December 2019 letter gave notice to terminate 191 jobs on redundancy grounds. Action was taken subsequently up to January.

Baptiste-Primus said the OWTU forwarded eight disputes to the Ministry concerning an alleged breach of the collective agreement by Unilever. “These are before the Ministry for conciliation. We continue to monitor the environment, mindful of the economic impact this dispute is having and will have on the manufacturing sector and economy and will do all possible to resolve the issue.” (GA)