Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has launched an investigation into why police officers from the Central Division failed to stop a T10 cricket match that had over 1,000 spectators on Wednesday, although this was clearly in breach of the COVID-19 Public Health Ordinance Regulations guidelines.
Ironically, a police representative team was playing Expert All Stars in a semifinal of the Central Super League (CSL) at the time. When the match was stopped, the police team, in reply to Expert All Stars’ 106/6 in their 10 overs, were 21 for the loss of two wickets.
In a release yesterday, Griffith said it was only when he gave instructions for the match to be shut down that the officers on the scene made an attempt to disperse the crowd which had assembled.
“The large crowd breached the COVID-19 protocols and caused a traffic nightmare along Pierre Road, Charlieville,” Griffith said in the release.
He noted that disciplinary action can follow if the investigation shows that police officers did not carry out their duties.
Griffith said when he received a report that there were breaches of the Public Health Regulations, he instructed the Senior Superintendent in charge of the Central Division to shut down the event.
“Although there were officers present throughout the match, it was only when they received instructions that the police officers went onto the field and stopped the match. The large crowd began to disperse subsequently. A representative team from the TTPS was engaged in a semi-final match in the Central T10 tournament at that time.”
The CoP reiterated that “there must be no spectators at team sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Griffith said with the large crowd present, there was clearly a breach of the Public Health (2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019- nCOV) Regulations, 2020.
The Regulations states: “During the period specified in Regulation 16, a person shall not, without reasonable justification– (a) be found at any public place where the number of persons gathered at any time exceeds ten; (b) participate in any sport or team sports which involves the congregation of more than ten persons; or (c) be found at or in any beach, river, stream, pond, spring or similar body of water in congregations of more than ten persons.”
Meanwhile the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control (TTCB) yesterday distance itself from the event, saying it was a private competition. Contacted for comment yesterday, TTCB secretary Suruj Mahabir said no permission was sought from the TTCB for the competition at Pierre Road.
“Also, since the recent upsurge in COVID cases, both TTCB and SSCL have advised against large groups training/practice, games and/or competitions,” Mahabir said.