A Different Perspective by David Allard

Do the Grenada Union of Teachers (gut) and public workers generally have a right to protest? Do members of the Royal Grenada Police Force have a right to call-in and interview any member of the public?

Grenada: “Long live the Grenada Trade Union Council, long live the working class. Forward ever, backward never!!!” Those were the closing words of President General of Grenada Trade Union Council and President of Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union, as he concluded his address to a crowd that was gathered in front of the St. David’s Police station on Saturday night, April 24th, in quite a militant mood.

Someone looking on and listening to the address without knowing the circumstance will probably think that they are only dreaming about an event during the revolution or that this address took place in Cuba or maybe Russia. Oh No, it took place right here in Grenada, in the Parish, where many conflicting historical events are recorded, including the deaths of innocent persons in similar demonstrations. However, though militant, the atmosphere was a bit quieter, although the blowing of horns and whistles could have been heard in the background.

Why such an address on the grounds of St. David’s Police station? A citizen, who happens to be the new President of the Grenada Union of Teachers, was asked by the Police to come in to be interviewed, after which he was free to go. He was not detained or arrested for any offence, just an interview. Can someone please tell me what this country is coming to? Is there anybody above the Law in Grenada? Don’t the Police have a right to detain, arrest or, as in this case, interview anyone whom they believe could assist them with information as it relates to an ongoing investigation? Why does it have to turn out into a rally because of who that person is? Are we now living in a military state?

Maybe I am the one who is dreaming. Why does everything in this country is now political, and why does it appear that the Police, when carrying out their duty, feel politically motivated? While there are more questions than answers, all of us must answer the above questions and let our conscience be our guide.

According to the Police inside source, “the President of Grenada Union of Teachers, Mr Jude Bartholomew, was questioned at the St. David’s Police Station, on Saturday, April 24th, 2021, by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department concerning an ongoing investigation regarding possible violations of the Emergency Powers Act and breaches of the Covid-19 Protocols. Mr Bartholomew was visited at his home by the Police, who requested that he attended the CID, St. George’s. However, based on a request made by him regarding his family, he was facilitated at the St. David’s Police Station, where he attended voluntarily and at his convenience, He was never detained, and he was told that he was free to leave at any time. He was questioned for just over two hours without charge and was allowed to leave at the conclusion pending further investigations. The RGPF calls on all citizens to co-operate with us as we manage this difficult period. We thank everyone for their co-operation and look forward to continuing partnering with all stakeholders and citizens alike”.

What is ironic, though, is that this simple exercise became a big rally in front of the St. David’s Police station, and therefore leaves the rest of the country, who knows the facts, dumbfounded. If it was politics, then persons like Cletus St. Paul, the Prime Minister’s Chief Bodyguard and Senator Winston Garraway should have never been arrested. And suppose it is police intimidation and harassment as a media release from the Grenada Union of Teachers said. In that case, exemption should be given to the GUT to break all the Covid-19 protocols. At the same time, everyone else must abide by them, by applying for permission to have any gathering over a certain amount, by wearing face masks and following every other protocol as is stated by the Emergency Powers ACT.

If an exemption is given to this group because they have a good cause to protest for, then one can say that my Karaoke, blocko, or any form of gathering is justifiable, so now our Police are bias and unfair. But if everyone just does their own thing with no police interference, then God forbid that if we have one case of Covid-19 in this country and ‘all hell breaks loose’ and become just like Brazil and the other countries, who right now are finding it challenging to find gravesites to bury the dead, because of the volume of deaths every day, will we then be happier?

Wake up, Grenadians, the GUT, and any Public Servant have a constitutional right to protest for their 4%. However, the Government states that they cannot add another 13 plus Millions of dollars to their monthly budget at this time, but they will pay. However, if they feel that they want their monies now, they can protest, but just follow the regulations like everyone else must do in any civilized society. How do you expect our children and youths to respect you and obey your rules when you are breaking the laws of the land? And if and when you do, the Police have all right to ask you to come in for an interview which is the least they can do. They did not break up the protest because you did not apply for permission to hold one in the first place. They did not arrest anyone because they broke the protocols at the protest and did not disperse the crowd gathered to hold what looked like a military rally on the compound of a police station. THE POLICE HAVE BEEN VERY TOLERANT!! Let us work with them for our good and the good of all our citizens. Law enforcement is here for our protection and has the right to enforce the law to whoever breaks it without having to face a military rally in Infront of the police station every time they do so—just a different perspective.

Associates Times do not endorse any statement given in the above article. All views expressed are personal by the writer himself.