Opposition slams appearance of politicians at COP news conference

The Opposition is criticizing the appearance of two government ministers at a news conference hosted by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on the night that Natalie Pollonais was rescued.

The Opposition has issued a statement emphasising that the position of Police Commissioner is an independent one.

"The United National applaud the news that kidnap victim Natalie Pollonais was rescued late last evening and that the mother of three is reported to be in good health and unharmed. 

We applaud further the diligent and meticulous work of the hard-working police service in utilising its resources in ensuring the successful release of Ms. Pollonais.

The positive results of this police operation reflect upon outcomes which are motivated by perseverance, persistence and resolve.

We anticipate now, that any and all perpetrators of this heinous offence would be brought before our courts and that justice would prevail.

What we cannot congratulate, commend and condone is the presence of two Ministers of Government at a press briefing last night outside the precincts of the Police Administration Building during which the Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith had sought to communicate the outcome of the police initiatives which led to Ms. Pollonais’ release.

In fact, we wish to condemn and denounce categorically the presence of these two government Ministers who obviously sought to utilise the moment for inexpensive public relations and marketing.

That these two Ministers, who incidentally have developed an unparalleled affection for media spotlight, took crude advantage to bolster their dwindling political image is insulting to both the innocent victim of this crime and to the initiatives of the police service. It is also an affront to our citizens who expect governance with decorum.

The laws of Trinidad and Tobago which regulate the operations of the Police Service are very clear.

The Police Service is an independent body that must at all times be insulated and isolated against any form of political interference. In the conduct and pursuit of its work, the Police Service does not take any instructions from any Minister or any politician.

Further, the Police Service is under no legal obligation or compelled in any way to keep any politician or Minister abreast of any investigation, inquiry, probe or sting operation.

The actions of these Ministers in not only attending the media briefing, but wanting to articulate a position on behalf of the government is proof of their ignorance of the boundaries and limits of their ministerial obligations.

We can only find this to be a blatant and worrying intrusion, invasion and assault on the independence of the police service.

It falls nothing short of political nosiness and intrusiveness and befits one basic definition: political meddling and snooping of the worst kind.

We consider this to be a frightening development.

When elected, politicians seek to propel themselves into the work of the protective services, it constitutes a flagrant disregard for our Constitution, reflects on an abuse of power and threatens the fabric of our democracy."


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