November 9, 2007
Ex Police Chief: I wasn’t breaking any laws!

A second dose of Selmon Walters: this was what some motorists felt they were witnessing last week Thursday, November 1st; this time involving former top cop, William Harry.{{more}}

But Harry, who is now advisor to the Commissioner of Police, and Chairman of the Police Reform Committee, says things were not what they appeared to be.

Reports reaching SEARCHLIGHT were that Harry, driving motor vehicle P86, was in the vicinity of the First Caribbean International Bank on Halifax Street, at about 5:15 p.m.

One source claims that Harry was trying to cross over from the right lane to the left, which leads out of Kingstown; this is when he was spotted by a uniformed policeman.

According to the source, the police officer animatedly motioned to Harry to get back in his lane, and he did not. The officer is said to have then approached Harry’s car and repeated the gesture, even knocking on Harry’s vehicle window, but to no avail.

When the vehicle ahead of Harry in the left lane moved up, the retired cop is said to have squeezed into the lane, driving off, leaving the police officer standing there.

But speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, the former lawman, now restaurant proprietor, recalled the incident in question, but insists that it did not happen that way.

“I was coming from the restaurant and a van stopped to let me in the left lane, but the vehicle in front of the van stopped due to the traffic, so I could not go in the lane,” Harry said.

He said that he did see a policeman, and that the policeman was signaling something.

“I saw a police officer signaling something, but I didn’t know who he was speaking to,” Harry said.

Harry said that the police officer did walk in his direction and stood up close to his vehicle, but did not say anything.

He refuted claims that the officer knocked on his glass and demanded that he return to the right lane.

“I was coming from a parked position, so I wasn’t breaking any laws,” Harry said, stating that is why he didn’t think the officer was motioning to him.

According to Harry, when the vehicle in front of the van that was giving him a chance to move into the lane moved up, he (Harry) slipped in and drove off.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that those motorists who believe that they saw him disrespecting a police officer were mistaken, misunderstanding what they were seeing. He stressed that disrespecting a police officer is something that he would not do.

Meanwhile, head of the Traffic Department, Superintendent Bertram Cumberbatch, says that he had not heard of the incident involving his former chief, and no such report was filed.

He further told SEARCHLIGHT that he could not say which officer was involved, because the place where the incident took place isn’t an assigned location for traffic police.

Cumberbatch explained that sometimes during peak hours, officers, even himself, would station themselves in that location to help maintain some order.

Over the last month, government Minister Selmon Walters dominated the airwaves and pages of the newspapers in relation to comments he made at a church service recently.

In his speech, Walters admitted disobeying a police officer’s orders at an intersection and threatening to run his vehicle on him, when the officer directed him to make a detour.

This, along with another revelation, sparked a public outcry and calls for Walters to resign, even though he apologized for his utterances.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves then stripped him of his Public Service portfolio; a direct response, Dr Gonsalves said, to a request made to him by the Public Service Union.

But former Commissioner Harry says that his incidence doesn’t resemble, not even remotely, Walters’.