Griffith Hits Back: Gov’t Playing Petty Politics

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By Prior Beharry

FORMER police commissioner Gary Griffith says the government was playing petty politics over solving crime.

This was stated in a release by the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) on Wednesday after Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds the day before said that Griffith was under investigation for matters under his tenure. Griffith is the political leader of the NTA.

Hinds made the announcement at a press conference at the office of the Ministry of National Security at Abercromby Street in Port of Spain on Tuesday.

Also present was Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Dr Amery Browne.

Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Dr Amery Browne

Hinds said that the investigations stemmed from the deaths of murder and rape accused Andrew Morris and Joel Balcon while in police custody and other matters.

He said that it was Griffith as police commissioner who made four military-type weapons available to the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) before the first of November, 2023.

Hinds said, “A matter which I am aware is in itself under investigation and many more matters because there are many, many questions to answer around all that has happened, that took us to the point where we had to intervene and treat with the SSA in a way which we are now treating with it.”

He said that the police were also probing Griffith’s actions in the deaths of Balcon and Morris.

Hinds played a clip of a radio programme when Griffith said, “These are two men who were involved in the killing of Andrea Bharatt, they will never be able to kill again, they will never be able to hurt another female again. And these were two men involved in over 60 other charges for rape.”

The national security minister said, “You would have heard in that clip he says this is some old matter happened a long time ago. Five years ago. Talking about ignorance. Murder is never statute-barred. The matters of which he just spoke are under active police investigation, but he portrays it as a public expression as though that is as far back as five years ago.

“And it is the only little thing that (Prime Minister) Keith Rowley has against him. Only little thing. This is a serious matter still under police investigation. This ain’t no little thing.”

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds

Browne said Griffith’s conduct in the deaths Balcon and Morris caused then chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Port of Spain Shante Moore to pay him a demarche and seize all forms of security assistance to the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) in who custody the men were killed. The SORT was disbanded shortly after this incident.

The foreign affairs minister said, “He (Moore) met with me and the team at the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs on what he described as an urgent and important demarche.”

But, the release issued by NTA Governance Team Executive Russell Lobo Chan, stated, “When Gary Griffith said that the two men responsible for Andrea Bharath’s (sic) death cannot harm any other women again, he was simply echoing the sentiments of a nation that is fed up from being under siege from criminals. If you look at the comments surrounding Hinds and Amery Brown’s (sic) press conference yesterday, this will be easily confirmed, as they are taking a beating from the public for their attempt at petty politics over real solutions to crime. 

“No loss of life should be celebrated but surely citizens can be forgiven for not feeling anything but anger for criminals whose criminal record shows they were involved in over 60 sexual offences and other crimes, especially as their victims were innocent women.

“It is also angering to see that this government seems more interested in protecting criminals, rather than showing an ounce of sympathy and understanding for the victims and families of these heinous crimes.”

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