According to Maunday, as a result of the new directive, changes will be made in terms of reassigning soldiers to the PM’s home in South Trinidad.
The decision to have soldiers replace Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) officers who were previously assigned to the private residence, came about on Monday after two GEB officers reportedly left their posts at about 4.30 am to seek medical attention.
The departure of the police was reported to Capt Gary Griffith, National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, who asked Minister of National Security Brigadier John Sandy to intervene.
Sandy asked Maunday to assign soldiers to the private residence and Griffith recommended they remain there permanently.
Newsday understands that soldiers are to also replace police officers at the home of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in Palmiste.
At yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Sandy expressed his disappointment that the GEB officers had abandoned their posts at the PM’s private residence and said Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs is investigating the matter.
Sandy said in the military, soldiers can be disciplined for this kind of action.
“I have major concerns. I grew up in an organisation where the orders will tell you that you ought not to quit your post until you are properly relieved,” he said.
Referring to reports that the officers left their posts after complaining they were ill, Sandy said,
“There is no way you take disciplinary action against someone who falls ill.” However, the minister explained that if a doctor diagnoses that these persons were not ill, they could be “placed on disciplinary action for malingering.”
He said it was possible for persons on guard duty to fall ill in the early hours of the morning but noted they should inform the person they are assigned to protect.
“I think it is courteous to advise the principal that, ‘listen, I’m not well, I’m leaving here and so probably you need to lock your gates and lock up.’ From the best of my information that did not happen. It was sometime later they recognised that, ‘our doors are open, our windows are open but no one is here.’ I thought that was not the correct thing to do,” Sandy said.