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CoP defends govt’s disaster response post-Irma

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews

Commissioner of Police Michael Matthews has come out in defence of the Government, dismissing claims that Governor Augustus Jaspert single-handedly took charge of the territory’s affairs in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“Not from where I was,” said Commissioner Matthews when the claim was put to him by Claude Skelton Cline during his Honestly Speaking radio show.

Cline was making reference to an article published in the United Kingdom Express on September 10, which hailed the Governor as a hero who took over when the Government allegedly collapsed following the September 6 hurricane.

Not the only hero

While continuing to defend the actions of the Government, Commissioner Matthews added that Governor Jaspert was not the only hero.

“There were a lot of heroes in those first few days. But I will agree that the Governor did a fantastic job, but the Premier was alongside him all the time and I know not everybody accepts that but that’s a fact. I was there, I was in the room, and the Premier was there the first evening with the Governor.”

He explained further that following the disaster he was the one who accompanied the Governor to the Emergency Response room where he met the Premier.

“We tried to start forming a meeting to get the Government going. It was a priority. There were daily meetings and cabinet members were involved. The problem was, we just couldn’t get the communication to tell people what was going on. So from my perspective, no, there was no collapse of the government,” he stated.

He, however, admitted that there were issues with law enforcement in the immediate aftermath.

Both Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith and Minister for Communication and Works, Mark Vanterpool have rubbished the claims as false when the issue was first raised by Opposition members last month.

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