Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles brings clarity to the issue surrounding the proposal of a Tobago Police Bill. Mr. Charles confirms that in 2003 the Legislature met and passed a draft form of legislation as an Assembly Bill, to assist the Tobago House of Assembly Act #40 of 1996 in legitimizing the Assembly Police.
Records further indicate that the Tobago House of Assembly Police Bill was considered by the Legislative Review Committee (LRC) of the then Cabinet and other stakeholders, such as the Commissioner of Police and the Chief Personnel Officer, who raised specific concerns.
The Chief Secretary confirms that to date, the intent of the Tobago House of Assembly Police Bill is reflected in the Tobago Autonomy Draft Bill, which is due to be presented in Parliament. Provision is made in this bill under the item of National Security, which stipulates that the Tobago House of Assembly will be responsible for internal security in Tobago. This item as it appears in the Tobago Autonomy Draft Bill reads:
National Security (save and except that internal policing shall be under the jurisdiction of the Tobago Island Government).
Mr. Charles notes that a joint initiative between the Commissioner of Police and the Tobago House of Assembly has resulted in the bolstering of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Tobago Division, by 20 specially selected police officers. Senior Superintendent Joanne Archie has confirmed that some of these officers have already assumed duty on the island. In addition, Mr. Charles also highlights that beaches in Tobago continue to be patrolled by the Tourism Oriented Police Unit, which has been contributing to controlling crime on the island. The Tobago House of Assembly remains committed to ensuring high levels of security in Tobago and continues to work closely with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.