No blackout order from minister - cops
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service yesterday denied that it had been ordered by National Security Minister Austin 'Jack' Warner not to disclose figures on murders in the country as the opposition warned of dictatorial tendencies by the coalition People's Partnership government.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said the statement by Warner on Tuesday that he had placed an information blackout on all crime reports coming out of police stations, "with immediate effect" was wrong.
"I had a meeting with the minister yesterday (Tuesday) in which he raised concerns about the police dissemination of information. I received no instructions from the minister on that and it is not a matter in which the minister has the authority to instruct the police service.
"So I am making it clear, hoping that it will be crystal clear that I have received no instructions. First I would have heard on the issue is the media calling me and telling me that the minister had communicated with them at the parliament building.
"I received no instructions from the minister," said Williams, insisting that Warner is responsible for policy and nothing else.
"The minister is responsible for giving policy directions … and all the policy directions we are given, we will in fact be complying with those policy directions. The matter of dissemination of information to the public is one where I believe the police have a legal obligation to fulfil and we will in fact be fulfilling our legal obligation."
Warner told reporters Tuesday that "with immediate effect, I have decided that no figures of any kind would be given anywhere for any absence of murders".