Police Commissioner Riyaz praises conduct of elections: “We have tear gas and rubber bullets but did not have to use them”

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz held a press conference late on Saturday night declaring that he was ready to accept whatever post that President-elect Abdulla Yameen offers him.

Speaking at a press conference, the commissioner commended the police force for their “exemplary performance” in ensuring that elections proceeded smoothly.

“It was one of the operational priorities of the police for 2013 to ensure that a peaceful election is held. I extend heartfelt thanks to the police team for achieving this. As a rule, we stopped giving leave to police from July 1st and they have been working towards this objective under the leadership of Assistant Commissioner Saudhee since then,” Riyaz stated.

“Tonight is a very joyous night, certainly it is for me. One reason why this is so is because I have been able to lead the MPS to achieve this as the most senior uniformed officer. I would like to thank President Mohamed Waheed for having entrusted me with these responsibilities and having appointed me to this post.”

Riyaz also thanked the public for their part in ensuring smooth elections.

“We received an overwhelming amount of public support. It is something that I have always reiterated that the majority of citizens are law abiding and peace loving persons, and they have proved that today.”

“I would also like to thank both the contesting parties; their senior leaders as well as general supporters.”

“I would like to congratulate, on behalf of MPS and myself personally, the President Elect Honourable Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Also, although he has failed, MDP candidate, too, as they also did do some very hard work,” Riyaz continued.

“Police play one of the most important parts in the development of a country. I assure citizens that the police executive team are qualified, capable, and with the mindset to achieve this.”

Abdulla Riyaz further extended thanks to the Elections Commission team, stating “It’s been a long time since the work to hold elections began. It has been delayed multiple times for various reasons. With the will of Allah, we have finally been able to conclude elections today.”

Asked by a journalist if he believed he should hand in his resignation following the election of a new president, Riyaz replied that “the President has the mandate to appoint or remove a Commissioner. I don’t believe that a commissioner needs to resign just because the government has changed. If the President Elect does want to remove me from this post as Commissioner, that is his decision to make.”

“What is important is serving the country, not the post I am in. Isn’t it too early to discuss or decide what I ought to do about my post? In any case, I was mentally prepared to being removed had the government changed differently from how it has,” he responded.

“Whatever education I have was gained with citizens’ money. So I believe I should serve the public for as long as possible. I don’t think I should comment on what my priorities will be if I remain in my post, or else it might appear as though I am too eager to hold onto this position.”

“What I do know is that a large amount of police officers want me to remain in this post. But I shall have to reconsider it a bit more. It is a job with very many responsibilities after all. I am 44 years old, going on 45, so I am wondering if it is time I took on a more relaxing job. I have been serving in uniform for 25 years now. Let’s just say that I am willing to serve the nation in whichever position that the President Elect offers me,” the commissioner continued.

“Operation Blue Wave is a huge success, as we planned way ahead from way before. We did not even have to use pepper spray. I am absolutely certain that the past two years were a time when we used minimum amounts of force,” Riyaz stated.

“This does not mean that we do not have operational tactical materials. We have tear gas and rubber bullets and all but we did not use any of it. Maldivians have shown that they no longer really support street protesting and other acts of the sort. There is no one that the arm of the law cannot touch. This is what I have been showing the public in these past two years,” he concluded.