STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC) ON THE MEDIA RELEASE DATED 13 APRIL 2015 FROM THE ROYAL GRENADA POLICE FORCE REGARDING “MAJOR TRAFFIC CONGESTION”
The National Democratic Congress, (NDC) views with much dismay and alarm, a statement emanating from the Office of the Commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, (RGPF) in which the police sought to address what it termed a “major traffic congestion” in the Town Of Saint George due to a peaceful protest march organized by our party one week ago.
The NDC wishes to register its total objection to the blatant falsehoods contained in the Police release of 13 April 2015. In that Release, the Force, amongst other things, accused the organizers (party members and supporters) of “belligerently” changing the agreed upon route “without forewarning.” Additionally, the Police also claimed that as a result of this march, “traffic was unduly affected and motorist and the general public put into a tailspin.”
We regard these statements not only as complete fabrications, but as unfair and highly prejudicial to the interests of the National Democratic Congress. Both oral and written communication between the Party and the Police will reveal that in planning for, and executing this peaceful protest, we engaged the RGPF honestly and in good faith, every step of the way, so as to ensure that no undue inconvenience was brought upon the motoring public or pedestrians in the city.
In that regard, we especially wish to record the following:
- By letter dated 27 March 2015, the National Democratic Congress, among other things advised the Police that it had organised a march for Friday 10 April: “around the town of Saint George ending with a meeting close to the Fish Market on Melville Street.”
- During the course of the week of 10 April, Party General Secretary Patrick Simmons was in constant telephone communication with Assistant Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin. In those conversations, the route of the march was agreed upon and settled. ACP Martin also suggested that it would be inconvenient to have the public meeting following the march on Melville Street as proposed. Based on that suggestion, the NDC decided to quash that aspect of our activity.
- On the day of the march, the route as previously agreed was strictly adhered to. Throughout the march there were as many as fifteen (15) police officers accompanying the protestors along the entire route. At no time during the march did the participants display any warlike, aggressive or hostile behaviour, either to the accompanying police officers or to the general public as video footage taken of the entire march and posted to NDC social media sites can attest to.
We are especially alarmed that this statement was issued by the Commissioner of Police without ever raising his concerns with us, the organizers of the event, and that the matter first came to our attention through the Media Release issued from the Commissioner’s Office.
We of the National Democratic Congress have had a long, cordial and co-operative relationship with the Royal Grenada Police Force. In collaborating with the police in respect of our many undertakings, we have always been genuine and forthright. We find the sentiment expressed in the release to be rather unfortunate, inflammatory, uncalled for and moreover, without any factual basis.
In light of the foregoing the National Democratic Congress calls upon the Commissioner of Police to withdraw the Release.
We have written to the Commissioner of Police conveying our sentiments in relation to this matter and requesting a withdrawal of the said Media Release.
We stand ready to meet with the RGPF to discuss this and any related matter with a view to ensuring that this unfortunate incident is not repeated.
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