Griffith: Rowley’s Statements Low, Classless

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LOW, classless and disappointing.

These were the words used by political leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Gary Griffith to describe the statements made about him and his party by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Thursday night.

Griffith issued a video statement on Friday to clear the air on what he said were lies and misinformation being spread by Dr Rowley as he spoke at a People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting in St James.

He said Dr Rowley’s statements showed that he was fearful and was all the more reason  why the country needed change.

The failure of retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John

In his statements, Dr Rowley referred to three pieces of documents, the retired justice of appeal Stanley John report into the issuance of FULs, an affidavit sworn by Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher and an audit by the Ministry of Finance.

But, Griffith said the documents were products of politicians hiring civilians, paying them huge sums and telling them how to do the report.

To John, Griffith said, “Stanley John, you have failed. You are a fraud because for two years since you made this statement of the police service being a well-oiled criminal industry, after two years, not one police officer or civilian has even been questioned as it pertains to white-collar crime or any type of criminal activity, bribes or anything like that so the Stanley John’s report is as false as Stanley John.”

To Dr Rowley, he said, “You have embarrassed yourself by trying to attempt to disgrace the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and smear the image of the police service with your lies.”

He had similar statements regarding the audit adding that Dr Rowley had the protection of Parliament to say whatever he wanted without being sued.

“I have him in court on three or four other matters and I am winning all. This would have just added to it,” Griffith stated.

More lies, misinformation 

From an affidavit sworn by Harewood-Christopher and published in a daily newspaper, Dr Rowley read that over 100 guns granted have been used to commit crimes of murder, robberies and suicide and 30 guns imported so far by authorised dealers have entered into the hands of criminals.  

That too was misinformation, Griffith said.

He said, “This is over a ten-year period and there are over 15,000 crimes annually… Out of that 100, the vast majority of those involved law enforcement officials, police, army, security guards, losing their weapons such as what took place in Tetron recently, having negligent discharges and even law-abiding citizens firing their weapon to protect themselves.

“But this man had the audacity to mislead the country to get you to believe that legal firearms were involved in murders and rapes and robberies and suicide.”

Griffith asked, “How many legal firearms have you all ever heard involved in such crime?”

He answered, “There has been one over the last few years. Not one weapon that I issued was lost, stolen, used for a crime or used for murder during my three-year period because I had a stringent process in place. I had 14 policies all that was shut down after I left.”

Griffith also claimed that Dr Rowley was downright hypocritical on his current stance on the issuance of firearms when Griffith said  Dr Rowley harassed him to grant a friend of his in Tobago a firearms dealership and also to build a shooting range in Tobago.

He said 4,000 firearms were issued under his tenureship as CoP, half of which went to law enforcement officials. The other half out of 50,000 applicants went to civilians.

“This man lied to the country to give the perception that we were giving away firearms,” Griffith said.


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