And as you saw in our interview, both sides granted joint interviews in a show of partnership. But - there wasn't accord on every issue. And, it made for a very unusual moment in our 30 minute interview with Elrington and Nuri Muhammad when they disagreed on a major point. And that apparent crossing of wires is whether or not all the police special units are answerable to the Commissioner of Police.
Certainly, it's been a concern that we've heard before. The issue came up today when Muhammad exited the meeting with the police and told the press that he interpreted Home Affairs Minister Elrington as confirming that some of those units do act outside the check and balance of the chain of police command. Elrington seized upon that very quickly, asserting that he didn't say that. Here's the back and forth:
Nuri Muhammad, Spokesperson - Local Muslim Community
"One of the examples he gave was the fact that there are units in the security department that really does not answer to even the minister. They are (I dont want to use the term rogue) because these individual units apparently believe that they have the go ahead of some higher authority. If it is not the prime minister, if it is not the minister of national security, then I don't know exactly who is giving the orders. What I heard today from Minister Elrington is that he as, a member of cabinet, is aware that within the region, there are conversations going on regarding security measures. These concerns are sometimes being addressed by units within the police department and its obvious to me, from what he said, that some of these units operate without even being under the check and balance of the authorities."
Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Minister of Home Affairs
"I'm sorry that you formed that view. Let me try to rearticulate what I said. I said first of all, we know that there are people in the police force who really should not be in there, because they don't necessarily comply with the law. I made that clear and to the members of the police force. We are taking steps to deal with that, that is first order of business. The second point I made and I think this is where the Imam got confused, that personnel in our police force as well as personnel in our defense force get training all over the world with different forces. They get trained in Chile, in the Caribbean, in the United Kingdom, and a lot of them get trained in the United States. I personally do not know all the places that they get trained at and the nature and extent of the training, that's what I said very clearly. I also went on to say very clearly that no police officer can act on instructions other than that given by his CEO or the commissioner of the police, because we control the police force."
Daniel Ortiz, reporter
"Are you satisfied that all police units are answerable at least the commissioner of the police?"
Hon. Wilfred Elrington
"Every single one should be without exception and that is a responsibility at which we are tasking the commissioner to ensure that nothing happens outside of his watch."