It was former president, retired Justice Anthony Carmona, who famously declared in his inaugural address, “The powers you think I have, I do not,” but, “The powers you think I do not have, I do.”
An address which no one can deny was awe-inspiring and motivational, as it sought to paint a new image for the presidency away from its anachronistic rubber stamp role to a more modern check-and-balance on executive power. Of course, whether he was able to actually achieve this objective or not is another story entirely, one for which I will leave up to you, though admittedly the judgment of history hasn’t been very kind so far.
Nevertheless, it appears that it was this address by former president Carmona which may have well inspired Police Commissioner Gary Griffith when he declared to the population back in April that “those who do not believe that the Police Service do not have the authority to stop activities on private property, that can affect lives during Covid 19; yes we can!”
You see, like president Carmona’s address, while devoid of any real legal basis, it was a veiled and, I dare say, necessary bluff designed to provide a sense of comfort and hope to the population by dissuading the actions of those more irresponsible citizens amongst us. Perhaps this was also the approach of the Government and health officials as they attempted to use every trick in the book to persuade persons to stay home, wear a mask, social distance and maintain good hand-hygiene practices, which no doubt initially worked, given our earlier successes in containing the virus.
In recent days, the public’s backlash of the police handling of the Bayside pool party incident demonstrated clear operational bias by the Police Service when compared with their responses to similar “zesser” parties and other home “bashment” limes in different parts of the country. It seems that the CoP decided to backtrack, choosing to drop the veil and admit it was all a ruse, rather than take the blame on behalf of his officers, if only to protect the fragile safety and security of the citizenry.
Maybe the officers who arrested and charged patrons for attending “zesser” parties and house limes under the Public Health Regulations, despite it being private properties, just didn’t get the memo that it was all a bluff, warnings only! Perhaps an honest mistake by those officers to be sorted out in the courts by the TTPS. Whatever the case, it is clear that the commissioner’s dropping of our defences and exposing our flanks would have sealed our fate, not only in this Covid war, but that on crime, as the criminals may now view all of his and the Government’s future tough crime talk as just more unenforceable, hot air (bluffs).
The question the commissioner must now answer is whether winning the Bayside battle was worth risking the entire war?