by Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Superintendent of Police Cromwell Henry says “no permission was granted” for anyone to organize or participate in a protest in St. Kitts and Nevis however videos making the rounds on social media depict physically-distanced people holding placards and wanting to protest in the Independence Square in Basseterre on Emancipation Day (August 02).
In an exclusive interview with Superintendent Henry, he told WINNN that he is “not aware of any permission that was granted” for any meeting or protest on August Monday adding that “these things require permission from the Commissioner of Police”.
“Normally, outside of a pandemic, protests are allowed but they must be sanctioned by the police. They must give the police a time and date and the number of people expected so that it can be properly policed,” Henry explained. “We need to also protect the protestors,” the top cop said, adding that the “police are not against protests and we are not stifling people expressing how they feel about a situation but all we are requiring is for people to follow the law”.
Police arrived at the Independence Square in advance as they were made aware of plans by a group of individuals to organize and participate in a public meeting and protest without permission. Police prevented the protest from taking place and reported that there was compliance and no arrests made.
A statement issued by the police on August 01 warned that any meeting or protest will be considered unlawful, brought to an end and the individuals responsible will be prosecuted.
“The police were there early and we quickly prevented it. People who showed up with their placards were warned that they were not permitted, and so the placards were removed from those who had. Others were warned not to bring any,” Superintendent of Police Cromwell Henry said.
Meanwhile…In a Facebook post on August Monday, former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, the Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas supported the people who took to the Independence Square with placards and intention to protest.
Dr. Douglas commended “our citizens who earlier today pursued their Emancipation Day activities boldly and unafraid, at Independence Square Basseterre, despite being confronted and provoked by armed Security forces of the Timothy Harris regime.”