PORT OF SPAIN –– Despite a call for him to go, Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams says he intends to focus on his job and “will not be deterred in anyway by detractors”.
On Saturday, former president of the Law Association, Senior Counsel Martin Daly, called for the top cop to go based on comments made by Williams in an interview with i95.5 FM with talk show host Dale Enoch.
Williams had said: “There were a lot of statements and utterances made by Mr Bassant which have been very irresponsible on his part on things which are incorrect, which I know as a fact are incorrect, which I can’t just put in the public domain, based on the office I hold and the access to information I have. And some of that, I believe, may have triggered the issue of a threat being made against Mr Mark Bassant.”
Daly had described Williams’ comment as a “shocking utterance”.
“Mr Williams’ highly questionable utterance for a person holding his office can only serve as comfort to all those who wish to suppress the media. It is clear that he does not believe in the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech unless he is an arbiter of what degree of freedom is to be allowed. That of course is one hallmark of a police state,” he had said in a statement to the Express on Saturday.
For his part, Williams had deferred comment until he had read the statement which the Express had forwarded to him and in turn, issued his own statement to the Express in response.
“I received the statement which you forwarded to me by email. I wish to firstly state that I have great respect for Mr Martin Daly, SC, (MGD) in his capacity as an attorney-at-law. I have read the statement, which has the endorsement MGD. You have stated that it is from Mr Martin Daly. I agree that there is freedom of the Press constitutionally guaranteed in Trinidad and Tobago and I will never do anything to interfere with such freedom.
“I do hope that MGD had the opportunity to listen to the short interview conducted by Mr Dale Enoch with me on Friday morning. I also do hope that MGD did not write his statement on the basis of what he read in the daily newspapers on Saturday. During the short interview, I never said that the journalist Mark Basant “has looked for it by his irresponsibility” and I did not allude to that. I wonder whether MGD is aware of what exactly journalist Mark Basant reported to the police. I will not engage in a war of words with MGD or any one else, as individuals are entitled to their personal opinions.
“However I will arrange for the publication of a transcript of what I said in the interview,” said Williams.