Gary Griffith--USE

 Gary Griffith

POLICE Commissioner Gary (CoP)Griffith has been presented with a proposal for the hosting of the Commissioner’s Cup that Government hopes will be consi­dered after he rejected a prior appro­val because of limitations imposed for the control of Covid-19.

This, following a “beef” between Griffith and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh after the annual tournament was at first banned then granted approval with Covid-19 protocols in place. Griffith questioned why the tournament was regarded as a threat while election campaigning was allowed to continue and resulted in large groups congregating. The cup was then granted approval with limitations, which Griffith rejected, citing other sporting events that were being allowed.

National Security Minister Stuart Young disclosed yesterday that he had met with Griffith and Minister Deyalsingh earlier in the day, and Griffith and the Health Minister had “a great elbow bump and moved on”.

Young was speaking at a news conference led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to update the country on the status of Covid-19 locally and Government’s actions to combat the pandemic in the coming weeks.

Young described the meeting as “productive” and “amicable” where all the issues were dealt with and a way forward was agreed upon with regard to the event. While all activities will be under review going forward, as the country confronts community spread of Covid-19, Young noted a separate regulation allowed for the playing of sports and that that had not changed.

The minister said a suggestion as to how the tournament could come off has been put to Griffith, and “we are hoping he’s gone away to give it consideration”.

Young said the event may be “truncated”, and if the CoP wants to proceed, the authorities will work with him. The Commissioner’s Cup is an Under-18 football tournament that was scheduled to begin in August.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, noting regulations are to go into place preventing the gathering of more than ten people in a spot, said it was still possible for several hundred people to attend the event if physical distancing protocols were observed.

The PM said if people were to gather in groups of under ten around the grounds of the event, it should be relatively easy to organise.

Griffith had said on Thursday that while the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s (TTPS) corporate communications unit had been given permission to host the tournament, the guidelines given were not practical—leading to a decision to postpone.

Griffith had publicly posed questions to Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Ro­shan Parasram as to why casual sporting activi­ties were being allowed and organised events were not.

Griffith said on Thursday:

“Today, the TTPS re­ceived correspondence from the Ministry of Health’s State Counsel 1, indicating that the Commissioner’s Cup can indeed be allowed to proceed, but that it must do so with a total of only 25 persons per game. We are at a loss to understand how this is even possible.

“Each team has 11 players and a coach, plus, there are also referees, linesmen and support staff. Is the correspondence suggesting we have no coaches, substitutes and/or no medical/first aid personnel at games?”

The CoP said in order to maintain a 25-person limit at a match, only two teams of 11 with a referee and two linesmen would be allowed at the ve­nue.

He remarked that he found it “strange” that young people are being allowed to participate in other activities as Deyalsingh had not pronounced on young people visiting water parks, the beach or an enclosed movie theatre.

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