Police Men Can Cook Competition 2015
On Saturday 03rd October, 2015, the North West region, under the auspices of the Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Carlisle Huggins of the Western Division, hosted its first annual “Police Men Can Cook” competition aimed at building comradeship amongst fellow officers and strengthening police-community relations. This event, held at the west field of the Police Training Academy, St. James, was initiated by Police Constable Jade Glasgow and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincel Edwards, and organised by committee members Inspector Ellie, Superintend Roban, Mr. Carlisle Huggins, ACP Vincent Edwards, Corporal Hazad, PC Jones, WPC Glasgow, WPC Caine, WPC Pierre and WPC Murray for all divisions, sections, branches and units in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. According to Constable Glasgow, a total of fifteen teams—“Tobago, Eastern, Northern, North-Eastern, Southern, South-Western, Anti-Corruption, Homicide, Port of Spain, Western, Parliament Police, the first division or the Executive as we normally call them, Human Resource Branch, Organized Crime and the Inter-Agency Task Force”—participated in this occasion. These teams competed in five categories which included fish broth, geera pork, corn soup, curry duck and a signature dish. This event also serves as a fund-raiser as moneys generated from this event would be utilized to give rewards to the officers at the end the year for their performance in 2015. Although this competition was held in Port of Spain the first time around, there are plans to decentralise the event and seek out other locations outside the town area.
From as early as 9 a.m., the west field grounds buzzed with activity as the competing teams scurried back and forth offloading and setting up makeshift kitchens in their designated spaces under tents. From the very onset, team members demonstrated a sense of camaraderie as they worked cooperatively with each other. Although there were no points awarded for creative adornments outside of cooking in this competition, this did not stop the enthusiastic participants from embellishing their work areas with banners, colourful hanging fabric, attractively displayed local spices, seasonings, fruits and vegetables, and eye-catching centre-pieces on elegantly decorated tables. In addition to the sights and aromas of the various pots, patrons were also treated to live music from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Steel Orchestra, a rhythm section and a wide selection of music provided by various DJs throughout the day.
By 1 p.m., huge pots filled with various seasonings and ground provision were already bubbling on the fires in preparation for the first round of the competition in the fish broth category. As the officers skilfully manoeuvred their way around makeshift kitchens, one could hardly miss their calm and relaxed demeanour as they focused on their task at hand. Curious patrons had already flocked to the field in full anticipation to not only treat their taste buds to some traditional Trinbago flavours but also for the opportunity to see the officers in a different light.
When WPC Glasgow, who is attached to the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police North West, and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincel Edwards who was chair of the ACP north-west at the time, were faced with the challenge of finding an event that would inspire and motivate the officers at the western and Port of Spain divisions, they came up with the idea of having the “Police Men Can Cook” competition. This idea was successfully executed under the supervision of Mr. Carlisle Huggins who is now sitting in the chair of ACP north-west.
“Today, we just want this event to bring us closer to the community, so it’s the public seeing us in a different light. They are always seeing us in police uniform and feel that the police big and bad and they will rough them up; so this is a time to see the police in a different light. They want to see the policemen as fathers, as role models, as husbands, as human [beings] and not as [robots] as most people think we are. We just want everybody to come and interact with the police, and they could give us their opinion on how they found the event was, how to make it better, and if it brought them a little closer to understanding the police in a different light.”
Head chef with the Executive Team, Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams shared similar sentiments:
“The importance of it is, it allows police officers to get together in an environment of friendliness; an environment of sharing; an environment of team work; an environment where they can cooperate and interact with each other and with the public. It allows a big opportunity for bridging the gap between the police and the public, but it also promotes relationships in the police service.”
Strengthening police-community trust and camaraderie among officers was not the only aim of this event. According to Williams, “The divisions—Port-of-Spain and western divisions—will have the benefit from a fund raiser, whatever it generated by way of income, to be utilized to give rewards to the officers at the end the year for their performance in 2015.”
As the day wore on, neither the heat from the blazing sun nor that which emanated from the fires burning under bubbling pots could deter the enthusiasm of the participants in the cooking competition. While the teams were busy flaunting their cooking and presentation skills in full view of an appreciative audience, some of their fellow team players were busy challenging each other in the male and female All Fours competition.
After hours of hard-work and showcasing culinary skills, judges were finally presented with the competitors’ meticulously arranged food dishes. But all would have to wait until the end of all other competitions within the event to become appraised of the final tabulations. During this time, there was a beer drinking competition and a special treat of Trini doubles was added to the delectable cuisines, much to the delight of lovers of this delicacy. Patrons were also treated to samples of all the dishes prepared by the competitors with the option to vote for their favourite.
While everyone anxiously awaited the judges’ pronouncements on cooking, beer drinking and all-fours competitions, a freestyle competition which included singing and imitations of sports commentators, proved to be highly entertaining and rounded out the day’s festivities.
Prizes for the day’s event included a first place reward of five thousand dollars, a challenge trophy, a first place trophy along with medals for all team members, a second place prize of three thousand dollars and medals for all team members, and for third place, two thousand dollars and medals for the team. For the beer drinking competition, there was a cash prize of five hundred dollars for the first place winner, three hundred dollars for second place and two hundred dollars for third place. The all fours competition had a three thousand dollar reward for first place and fifteen hundred dollars for second place. Winners of the imitation competition received trophies for first, second and third place.
When the results were announced, Tobago emerged the overall winner, the Homicide Bureau of Investigation placed second, and the North Eastern Division placed third.
It was the general consensus by members of the public as well as members of the TTPS that this event should be hosted annually and that it was a great initiative to develop better relations with fellow officers as well as with the public. WPC Glasgow expressed:
“The turn out from members of the public was great for a first time event. We wish to thank members of the public for their continued support to members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. We were really excited [to portray] the TTPS in a different light. We wish to also thank all our sponsors in making this event a success.”
Results of the competitions:
Beer Drinking Competition
1st Place – South Western Division
2nd Place – South Western Division
All Fours Competition:
1st Place – Northern Division
2nd Place – Eastern Division
1st Place – South Western Division / PC Ramdeo
2nd Place – OCNFB – A/CPL Job
3rd Place – South Western Division / Snr. Supt. Joseph
Best Fish Broth – Port of Spain Division
Best Geera Pork – Eastern Division
Best Corn Soup – I.A.T.F.
Best Curry Duck – Tobago Division
Best Signature Dish – Port of Spain
1st Place – Tobago Division
2nd Place – Homicide Bureau of Investigation
3rd Place – North Eastern Division
North West Region present “Police Men Can Cook” in pictures: