T&T union leader detained during protest

Deputy Top Cop: I thought it was a coup

(Trinidad Express) Deputy Commission of Police Mervyn Richardson has defended

his actions in detaining Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget in Port of Spain yesterday, saying that Roget and his supporters had no police permission to protest in the city.

At a press briefing called at Police Headquarters, Richardson said that citizens were afraid that another 1990 coup was about to take place when they saw protesters dressed in black with masks covering their faces.

Richardson said he also thought it was a coup, and confronted Roget and the protest group outside the Hall of Justice.

Richardson said Roget was taken to the old police headquarters. Richardson said he told Roget to desist since “clearly he was breaking the law. I asked him to remove himself”.

Richardson said he was told by Roget that he did not seek permission to march.

Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, who also spoke at the press briefing, said the law did not allow people on their own volition to engage in such meetings and marches.

“Permission from the Commissioner of Police must be granted. Once you do so without permission, it is illegal. Every union leader should know the law” he said.

The senior officers also said that the crime rate was going down and was at its lowest in eight years.

Williams said that police officers “feel pained” when they hear talk that the police service is a failure.

Richardson also said that the police intervention at Duncan Street Port of Spain on Sunday, where six persons were killed, had resulted in 40 lives being saved.

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