The Police Service has launched an investigation into the granting of bail to national footballer Stern John over the weekend.
John and three others were charged for breaching the curfew on Saturday night. However, he was granted bail the following day, even though he did not appear before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar until Monday to answer the charge. All four were then granted an additional $1,000 bail each by Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar and ordered to reappear in court on December 14th.
Questioned on this at Tuesday's Police Press Briefing on the State of Emergency, Ms Sharon Lee Assang of the TTPS said, "Generally under the SoE you are supposed to go before a Magistrate and the Magistrate fixes bail. That is a question we would like to know so an investigation has been launched into that. It is receiving close attention."
Stars stand by Stern.
North East Stars Media.
DIRECTV North East Stars Operations Director, Kevin Harrison said today that striker Stern John has the full backing of the club after appearing before magistrates on a charge of breaking the curfew.
" We at North East Stars fully support the governments attempts to reduce the level of crime in our country and insist our players and staff adhere to the curfew. However we cannot comment on the arrest of Stern John on Saturday night as the matter is now in front of the magistrate.
While not wishing to condone the breaking of the curfew by a member of our playing staff, we wish to point out that Mr John has pleaded not guilty and therefore we adhere to the view that Stern John is innocent until proven guilty."
Harrison said that the Sangre Grande based club will be supportive of John during the run up to his hearing in December. "Stern is not just an integral part of North East Stars, but also crucial to the National teams efforts to win through to the next round of the World Cup qualyfiers. As a club, we will support Stern in every way we can and ensure that his mind is focused on his career."
Harrison also stated that the club have invited a Brazilian coach to Trinidad to examine the possibilities of taking the vacant position of Head Coach. "Emerson Alcantara will be arriving this week to view the North East Stars organisation and players. Emerson is a young coach with a growing reputation in Brazil. We are delighted to welcome him to Trinidad, and our aim over the next few weeks is to ascertain if his coaching philosophy matches the aims of the club."
Harrison said it is never an easy decision to hire a foreign coach. "While we would love to bring on board a local coach, North East Stars are fully focused on competing regularly across the Caribbean in the CFU competition and hopefully in North and Central america in the CONCACAF Champions League. Therefore, we feel that a coach with experience of working overseas can bring an additional edge to the team."
North East have received applications from many foreign coaches and see this as positive proof that Trinidad and Tobago is still regarded highly in the football world. "We've received applications from all over" said Harrison. "We were very interested in a coach who has just left his position as Head Coach of an African national team, but unfortunately, he is currently on a course in Malaysia.
The quality of the applicants was quite surprising. It appears that Trinidad is a destination of interest to foreign coaches, which hopefully means our foreign based players are making a good impression and the Pro League is viewed favourably overseas."
Harrison was quick to confirm that a contract is not in place with Alcantara at this time. " Emersons cv is very good, but we have to give him the opportunity to view the players in training, meet his prospective colleagues on the staff and take in some ProLeague action." There is also the language barrier to monitor, he added.
"We've spoken to Emerson via skype and feel confident that the players will understand his English. However, its important to undergo this "getting to know you" process for the benefit of both Emerson and North East Stars. The club is under no pressure to appoint a new Head Coach, as Brent Sancho and Kevin Jeffery are doing a great job as interim coaches. Its important that we make the right decision and we will not rush to fill the post."
North Easts next game is against Jabloteh on October 25th.