Saturday, March 9, 2013

Police association opposes precepting of soldiers; calls move "catastrophic"

The Police Social and Welfare Association has asked for an urgent meeting with National Security Minister Jack Warner to discuss a plan to give soldiers the power of arrest.

The President of the Association, Sgt Anand Ramesar, made the request as police began circulating a petition calling the plan a “serious, catastrophic decision." Police officers are circulating the petition throughout all policing divisions.

Ramesar told local media the document did not originate from the association, which represents more than 5,000 police officers from the First and Second Divisions. However he said it represents the views of its members.

He said the government did not consult the association on the move and is hoping Warner would agree to meet with him.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan piloted The Defence (Amendment) Bill in parliament Friday, which seeks to give soldiers the power of arrest with certain checks and balances. 

The petition states: 

"The members view the decision to precept soldiers as a serious, catastrophic decision that has the potential to initiate an irreversible trend of interference on the independence of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) and its operations.” 

Ramesar told the Guardian newspaper, "We are convinced the document and signatures are representative of the sentiments of the general membership", adding that the petition is "evidence" of the views of members.

He added, "The association believes anyone who is to be precepted must come under the authority of the CoP and must fall in line with the regulations that govern the TTPS. 
The association does not want a parallel authority exercising similar powers as that of the TTPS, as it is tantamount to serving a different master." 

Ramlogan suggested that soldiers should resign "and apply to become full-fledged police officers and work as police officers and not as soldiers seeking police powers."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai