Saturday 28 March, 2020

Gary defends heavily armed SORT patrolling through revellers in POS

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has responded to a Facebook post by NLCB Communications expert Rhoda Bharath who questioned the need for Special Branch police to patrol a Carnival stage with high powered weapons amongst masqueraders.

She was at the time praising the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) that formed part of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s security detail, for having concealed weapons.  

In a statement, Griffith said there are different roles for Special branch and SORT. He explained that covert operations carried out by the Special Branch is to provide VIP protection while the overt operation of SORT is to deploy officers for possible hostile situations with either terrorists, criminals or both.

“If you do not have the security training to understand the difference between VIP protection to that of Operational requirement to deal with possible Counter Revolutionary Operations, which can involve gangs trying to destabilize Carnival, based on the same type of weapons that you complain that SORT is patrolling with, it simply shows your ignorance in the field,” he quipped.

The top cop also revealed that heavily armed police officers managed to prevent a clash between rival gang members on Carnival Monday in the heart of St James.

“It was these same "high powered weapons" that SORT carried, which prevented possible bloodshed by Roxy Roundabout on J’ Ouvert morning when two rival gangs were about to confront each other. Because of the special training of SORT officers, we were able to confront these gangs. As a result, these gang members decided to run, but were cornered and arrested,” he stated.

According to Griffith, the detainees were boys between the ages of 13 and 15.

“We averted bloodshed and brought a crisis to an end,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner pointed to international reports of a terrorist attack in Western Germany on Carnival Monday when a car ploughed into a crowd and injured 60 people.

He said T&T is dealing with criminals who have sophisticated weapons and are not afraid to use them.

He went on to defend and applaud the SORT for the professionalism displayed during the festivities as he attacked Bharath once again.

“These are people who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens and their country, just for people who are hired by the State as Communications Experts, to discredit them. So before this NLCB Communications Expert decides to become a Security Expert, she must learn the difference between the roles of the two units of the TTPS.”

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