Acting CoP on unregulated boxing matches: Let’s do the right thing

ACTING Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob wants the communities where “pop-up” boxing matches take place to “push back” against them.

In a phone interview with Newsday on Friday, Jacob said while he applauds the communities, which are known for gun violence, for finding something positive to do, the matches create another problem.

“What we need is for them to add to the fight against the common enemy, that is, covid19. They need to organise in a better way.”

He added that apart from the crowds gathering to watch the matches, gang activities can escalate in those situations.

On September 14, boxing promoter Boxu Potts and MP for Port of Spain South Keith Scotland told Newsday they both saw positives in the boxing matches, many of which took place in Sea Lots.

On Sunday, six people were arrested in the area after a boxing match. Police said during the arrests, they were shot at.

Scotland said then: “Under the right and proper circumstances, that can only benefit the entire community as a whole. Under the right protocols, that is something that I, certainly, will be involved in.”

Potts said: “I think it will spread and it will improve boxing throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The people who are investing in that boxing are doing it community-based and it will evolve into something great. It doesn’t have the politics in it. It is a community coming together and investing in themselves, and you can’t beat that.”

Jacob too agreed that good could be derived from the matches, saying when the pandemic is over he hopes the Hearts and Minds department of the Inter-Agency Task Force will partner with the organisers of the events. He said the community police will also join with the organisers when the pandemic is over.

But in the meantime, “We must not support that (pandemic boxing). We must support them in the positive things. Why create another problem? Are we to support illegal activities?”

He said supporters are guilty of aiding and abetting in committing criminal activities.

He added that there is a boxing gym near the old Besson Street Police Station that can train fighters, as the matches now are fought without rules.

On Tuesday, president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis said the unregulated matches were coping mechanisms and should not be seen only as a source of boxing talent. He added that putting structure to the matches by adding referees and other elements, may defeat the purpose.

“How much does it have to do with a little boredom or looking for an activity to do?

“The fact that you have youth and young people prepared to hit it out. You have to see it for what it is. It is part of the covid19 fatigue that they have to find alternative activities, and they’re boxing.”

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