Outgoing Police Commissioner Milton Desir approved Saturday’s Onyx concert at the Daren Sammy cricket stadium at Beausejour, Gros Islet, where the appearance on the stage of a police officer with an open-carry firearm created a public backlash.
“In the final analysis, the Onyx show was approved by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Milton Desir,” Assistant Commissioner of Police George Nicholas told a news conference on Wednesday.
Nicholas, responsible for security at the show, disclosed that the Commissioner’s office approved a list of police officers.
He said he was aware of the issue regarding the officer on stage with a firearm.
But he explained that the gun-toting cop was not on the approved list signed by the Police Commissioner.
“When the matter was brought to my attention I spoke with the officer and had him to conceal himself so that he would not be seen in plain view by the patrons,” Nicholas told reporters.
However, he said by then, the damage was already done.
ACP Nicholas told the news conference that since the incident, the Police Commissioner called for an investigation which is currently ongoing, into all the circumstances relating to the incident.
In addition, he was aware of two contradictory letters in the public domain.
One of the letters did not approve Onyx concert, while the other indicated the opposite.
According to Nicholas, it is not unusual for a decision to change in such matters.
And he said the Police Commissioner gave approval, satisfied that the event met all the required conditions.
“I think the bigger issue is that the letters got circulated in the public domain and that is a matter that the office of the Commissioner of Police has promised to handle,” he revealed.
Nicholas said when an application reaches the Commissioner’s office for event approval, the promoters would have started the process long before.
In this regard, he said before reaching the Commissioner’s office the Onyx show would have had to, among other things, obtain a work permit from the Labour Department for foreign artistes, a health permit for food preparation, approval from the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) for holding a mass crowd event and Fire Department permission to hold the event in respect of the safety of patrons.
Nicholas indicated that once the various agencies, including the Solid Waste Management Authority, gave their nod, the application would go before the office of the Police Commissioner for approval.
“All that would be required from the Commissioner’s Office as it relates to other documents is the attachment of the list of officers who would be providing security for the show,” he stated.