Thursday 2 July, 2020

Griffith: Voice concerns but do not break the law

File photo.

File photo.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith warned citizens that they cannot break the law when voicing their concerns. 

In a statement issued May 23, 2020, Griffith said he noted three separate incidents involving people who held protests where laws were broken. 

Griffith said the first involved a protest in Moruga where people blocked the road with debris to voice their support for 'the selection of a political candidate'.

He said CCTV and media footage of those who were at the site, would be used to have such persons brought in for questioning to ascertain what knowledge they have of this act.

"The COP wishes to advise anyone, especially as we approach a General Election, that any such acts, inclusive of those who block roads in an effort to have their concern aired as it pertains to public utilities being provided for the community, the Police would take the necessary action and those responsible would be arrested pursuant to Section 64 N of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02, and further to which, if any public protest is made without the requisite permission they would be arrested pursuant to Section 109 of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02."

Griffith also referred to another incident involving an activist who protested against a road being constructed. 

He said the media was briefed in advance and on location, to get the proper footage to see him being arrested because of him breaking the law.

"If persons want to make themselves famous and have pre-planned escapades to have themselves arrested, the COP wishes to give that assurance to such persons, that he would graciously accede to their request and they would be arrested forthwith, pursuant to Section 46 of the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01 for breaching the peace and, or obstruction of the police in the execution of their duty, or, unlawful protesting pursuant to Section 109 of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02."

He also referred to an event involving silent seated protests outside the residence of the Prime Minister and reminded them that for such actions, approval is required from the Police Commissioner.

He said the request was submitted and approval was given.

He added that failure to acquire an approval where persons are gathered can result in them being arrested for a breach of Section 109 of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02.

"It is the Constitutional right of any citizen to Freedom of Speech. However, there are also laws that all must adhere to whilst protesting and adhering to your Constitutional right to protest."

"No law-abiding citizen must believe that your Constitutional rights must impose on the Constitutional rights of others, whereby for example, if you block a public road, you now infringe on the Constitutional rights of others for freedom of movement, which at times can include serious matters, such as persons needing immediate medical attention and trying to get a loved one to a medical facility, or parents trying to collect their child."

"It is your right to protest. But it must be done with the approval and not infringing on the rights of others."

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