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Road blocks and the response of our police

Road blocks and the response of our police

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When several dozen people blocked the streets of Kingstown last Thursday in protest of the decision of the High Court to throw out the election petitions, the repercussions could have been serious.

Had it not been for the disciplined manner in which the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force handled the situation, there may have been many arrests, injuries and even fatalities.

As it turned out, by the time school let out that afternoon, the streets were clear, and Kingstown had returned to business as usual.

Ably led by Commissioner John and two Superintendents, Bailey and Hazelwood, the officers deployed to the streets provided the nation with many teaching moments as they demonstrated that aggression does not have to be met with aggression and force does not have to be met with force. 

On six occasions last Thursday, instead of insisting that the protesters let traffic through, the police re-routed the vehicles through side streets, minimizing the number of vehicles that had to drive through the angry crowd thereby reducing the opportunity for there to be damage to property, injury and even death. 

Certainly, the police had ample opportunity to respond to the situation in an aggressive manner, and most likely would have been covered by the law in so doing. A man who grabbed at the service revolver of a senior police officer got away with a warning, while many others who tussled with the commissioner when they placed barriers in the road and blocked vehicles walked away unscathed.

The New Democratic Party, last Thursday, was seeking to use a strategy they have condemned over and over.

The fact that the public sector unions and the Unity Labour Party similarly blocked roads in 2000, in what has become known as the ‘Road Block Revolution’, cannot be used as a justification for similar action today. Those who condemned such action almost two decades ago, cannot now say it is right, because it was done before.

The NDP needs to come up with its own script.

We again commend the police for their approach. When they disappoint, we are quick to point out their flaws, so when they do well, we must be unrestrained with our praise.

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