Trinidad and Tobago Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith honoured a civilian, Kevon Neptune, today for his ‘selfless act of kindness’ in rushing to the aid of a police officer after an accident in El Socorro, two months ago.
But there was a negative note to the proceedings as Griffith suggested that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Social and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) abandoned the injured lawman, Constable Shane Smith.
On 26 March, PC Smith and a fellow officer were proceeding west along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway on their motorcycles when Smith skidded on some gravel—as they approached the Samaroo Roundabout, El Socorro—and flew into a railing while his bike hit a lamppost. Smith’s leg was immediately amputated.
Neptune, a 31 year old driver from Couva, was driving by and immediately went to render assistance. He placed Smith in his vehicle and, with a police escort, drove him to the Mount Hope Medical Sciences Complex.
Although PC Smith was taken straight to the operating theatre upon arrival, Neptune stayed by his side as long as he could.
Griffith presented Neptune with a letter of commendation and plaque and praised his actions.
“You have proven to be a hero and that is exactly what we need in our society,” stated Griffith, via a TTPS release. “On behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, we applaud you and salute you and thank you for what you have done.”
Smith also thanked Neptune and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for their support.
“All I have been getting from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is help and assistance with no static,” said Smith.
Griffith, who has clashed with the TTPSSWA recently over his attempts to discipline officers, claimed the Police Welfare Association ‘had been noticeably absent throughout the ordeal’.
“And what I find very disturbing and the only negative of this is, that exactly what the officer said—this is where police officers are supposed to get involved,” said Griffith. “Who do you think should be the most involved to help this young man? The Trinidad and Tobago Welfare Association. But you know why they couldn’t come and meet with you? Because they’re busy doing press conferences. They are busy going to the Police Service Commission to complain about me.
“They’re busy going to media conferences to complain about who should get transferred. They’re upset about who’s getting their pay bought out. Not once have you come forward to try to deal with his concerns because you’re busy fighting down about a man who got his pay bought out, or you’re busy concerned about a man who got transferred.”
Griffith assured Smith that he will have the support of the TTPS.
“If the Welfare Association doesn’t want to do their job, I will do my job,” said Griffith. “I will do all that is required to assist you with your rehabilitation so that you can be the best that you can be, which is why you joined the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”
Wired868 asked the TTPSSWA for response to Griffith’s claim that it had abandoned Smith. The organisation had not responded up to the time of publication.