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Thursday 22 February 2018

100 additional cops for THA election today

In an effort to deal with any lawlessness at today’s Tobago House of Assembly election, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams took a decision last week to dispatch 100 officers from Trinidad to assist their colleagues in Tobago.

Yesterday, the Acting Commissioner told Newsday he received a request from head of the Tobago Division Snr Supt Garfield Moore for additional manpower to assist in manning the 97 polling stations in the 12 polling districts.

According to Williams, he considered the request and decided to dispatch the 100 officers from different divisions and sections of the Police Service.

“We have in fact sent additional manpower to Tobago to ensure that we have adequate coverage of pre-election activities, and also all polling stations, so we expect that the security arrangements would be adequate in Tobago.”

He said officers left on Friday and are expected to return tomorrow if all goes well.

According to Williams, the mixed team of officers who are skilled and trained in all aspects of policing, are equipped to deal with any major eventualities in the sister isle.

“We do not expect issues surrounding violence to take place or to rear its head at this point in time, but we have provided adequate security arrangements to cover all eventualities.”

Newsday understands the officers are being housed in dormitories in various police stations and at some guest houses and hotels. He noted that depending on how things unfold in Tobago, he will give instructions on when the officers should return, but the tentative date is tomorrow. The commissioner yesterday appealed to the electorate in Tobago to adhere to the rules and regulations when voting.

“It is really about the voting public maintaining their focus on what is legal, and comply with the rules governing the election.”

Several of the officers who left on Friday for Tobago were assigned duties at both Tobago Organisation of the People and Peoples’ National Movement meetings.

On Saturday they also assisted their colleagues in patrols and manning polling stations to ensure that all was well, while some officers assisted EBC officials in the island.

Several of the officers who spoke with Newsday said that they are comfortable with the arrangements in Tobago and looked forward to a peaceful election today.

Yesterday president of the Police Social and Welfare Association Sgt Anand Ramesar said the move by the Commissioner of Police is supported by the association.

“This decision is able to treat with the staffing and deployment issues in Tobago, and during the period coming into the election, officers in Tobago had been continuously complaining about being overworked due to the fact that the availability of police officers in Tobago for deployment has been a challenge.

It is our hope that the logistics are in place to treat with hygiene issues, housing, and the provision of food and beverage, because too often this has been a sore point during the election period.”

He concluded he and members of his executive will be in Tobago today to ensure that the welfare of officers is not compromised, and the association will be in a position to lend support with the hope that the police function in Tobago would be successful and incident free for the THA election.


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