Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith. Photo: Azlan Mohammed
POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith says he works on facts and evidence and not on comments by Parliamentarians.
He made the comment on the private Facebook page of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. This following a post by Rowley after the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) said it closed the investigation into allegations that a foreign data mining company illegally accessed the private information of Trinidad and Tobago citizens.
The matter came to be also known as the Cambridge Analytica following allegations in a book, titled Mindf**k: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie.
Wylie claimed in the book that he was part of a group that had accessed digital information on TT citizens including their web histories and searches. He said this was done with the intention of interfering with the electoral process in the 2015 general election.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Jayson Forde speaking at the news briefing at Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain on Wednesday said the file was closed after repeated attempts to contact Wylie provide futile.
Forde said, “I personally placed calls to the lawyer’s office. And on the first call, I did encounter a male voice. We spoke, and the conversation was very co-operative and he was very accommodating. However, after that initial communiqué, there was no other. All calls went to voice mail.”
He said the case could be reopened once new evidence presents itself.
Subsequent to this announcement, Rowley posted on his Facebook page: “I presume that the authorities in the British Parliament and the US Congress are delirious and the Trinidad mentioned in all these proceedings is not a real place but a location in a movie on Netflix and all the subject of someone’s imagination.
“This is my Cambridge Analytica comment on the closure, in Trinidad, its birthplace, as it remains wide open and troubling in England and America.”
And in a reply to that comment, Griffith responded: “They have to be delirious. Because up to now, the same US Congress and UK Parliament cannot provide one piece of evidence to show that this took place. I work on facts and evidence. Not comments by persons in Parliament.”
Also in a release on Wednesday, the Opposition United National Congress, the party that was in Government during the time of the data-mining allegations, thanked the TTPS for “bringing a quick end to the Cambridge Analytica fairy-tale…”
The release stated:
The United National Congress thanks the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for bringing a quick end to the Cambridge Analytica fairy-tale, foisted on our population by senior members of the Keith Rowley administration. Like Emailgate, the PNM has now lost another of their key propaganda tools in their General Election arsenal.
The nation would recall that this became a police investigation after the Minister of National Security, Stuart Young, and the Attorney General, Faris Al-Rawi watched a Netflix movie and read a novel and placed their “findings” at the front of the national agenda.
From the beginning, the United National Congress stated that none of these Cambridge Analytica stories are true.
The UNC is committed to a campaign based on our policies, and our National Economic Transformation Masterplan, which aims to create more than 50,000 new jobs by 2025.
We hope that the decisive end to this Cambridge Analytica saga by the TTPS would finally force the PNM to campaign on substance and policy, and not create some new fantasy to distract the population from their lack of achievements.