“I am not of that view,” she said during a news conference at the Red House shortly before yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives. “Perhaps I might have said it in a different way. Each person has a different manner of expressing themselves. I would have done it differently, but I am not of the view that he overstepped.
“I think it is most unfortunate on both sides and we need to just move ahead and get on with the people’s business. I am sure we will be guided by all suggestions for us to improve ourselves and do better,” Persad-Bissessar said.
The absence of police at the site had resulted in rampant looting by villagers, who over the past few weeks, have been carting off steel, blocks and other building materials from the site. The dome of the structure collapsed on Wednesday because of the theft of items including material used to prop up the incomplete dome.
During the post-Cabinet news briefing on Thursday, Ramlogan lashed out at Philbert and the Integrity Commission for failing to properly secure the site. But Philbert, in an immediate response, accused Ramlogan of “contempt, disdain, bias and animosity” as he defended the Police Service’s decision not to secure the site.
“I think the matter is being handled, as indicated, by the Deputy Commissioner (Stephen Williams) and I think it is best that we put this behind us and move on. The safety and security (of TT) is in front of us now and that is our priority.”
Persad-Bissessar said Williams assured her that there has been increased surveillance by police officers at the site. “We discussed the church at Guanapo Heights in terms of what has been happening there and I have been advised from our Deputy Commissioner that they have indeed, increased surveillance,” she said.
Williams, who also attended the news conference, said there was a visible police presence at the Heights of Guanapo “to ensure that what has been happening does not continue.
“Action has been taken from the Police position and we will be seeking to assure the public that what has been displayed by the television screens by the media, that will no longer be happening in Guanapo,” he said. Williams told reporters that he would be performing the duties of Acting Police Commissioner for the next six days.
“Acting Commissioner Philbert is out of the country from today (yesterday) for the next six days. I have been appointed to act in his place as the commissioner of police,” he said.
Persad-Bissessar said she was advised that Philbert was of the view that “he would no longer be in the position from a certain date and therefore would have arranged his vacation. It was pre-arranged on the basis that his term would have expired on June 30.”