Griffith writes to PCA on Police in ‘Political Meeting’

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Police Complaints Authority (PCA) will be receiving correspondence from political leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) Gary Griffith as to why police officers were initially key persons carded to attend a community meeting.

He labelled the meeting as a political one.

Griffith in a statement on Wednesday referred to comments made by Minister of Housing and Urban Development Camille Robinson-Regis and published in a local newspaper.

He said that rather than dealing with the facts of an issue raised regarding the politicising of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), “she went on a nasty name-calling tirade.”

The comments from both Griffith and Robinson-Regis stem from an online advertisement for a townhall meeting which informed the public that Macoya/Trincity prospective People’s National Movement (PNM) candidate in the August 14 Local Government Elections (LGE) Josiah Austin along with Robinson-Regis and the police, will host the event on Wednesday at 7 pm at Montague Recreation Ground.

The event has since been cancelled.

Leader of Government in the House of Representatives Business Camille Robinson-Regis. Photo: T&T Parliament

Griffith said, “Attempting to distract or deflect, Robinson-Regis, in response to my initial release exposing the politicising of the police, said that the LGE candidate in question is a “former councillor”. But on the top of the flyer put out by the candidate it clearly states “Prospective Candidate”, which makes it absolutely political.”

Robinson-Regis missed the point that if someone was a candidate vying for a seat in an upcoming election and they were on a platform in a public meeting, it was a political meeting. 

“And by having the police participate in such a meeting, it damages their reputation in being an independent organisation,” he said.

Robinson-Regis was also in no position to speak about Griffith and him reapplying for the position of CoP, but it was her government responsible for the high crime rate and even though the public wanted him back in the top position, she and her leader Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley blatantly refused to have him serve another term, he said.

“Unfortunately, these are the things that affect the public trust and confidence in the police, and it also lowers the morale of the officers themselves, since this is no fault of the officers, but of politicians with dictatorial leanings, and a weak and compliant police hierarchy,” Griffith said.

Josiah Austin

He added, “Aided by a weak TTPS leadership, which quickly investigates certain matters of political opponents, whilst dragging their feet on other more serious matters where high government officials can be implicated, this politicising of the TTPS is just another of the dictatorial steps of this Keith Rowley led government. Which is why I will be making a report on this matter to the Police Complaints Authority, and why come August 14, the people of this nation will reject this autocratic march, because we’ve had… Enough.”

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On Monday, Griffith said the “prospective candidate” being joined on a political platform confirmed  that there were no longer lines between the TTPS and the Government.

Newsday reported Robinson-Regis response to Griffith.

She was quoted in the newspaper as saying, “At a time when crime is a concern of all citizens it is unbelievable that he should want to sully what is clearly a commendable engagement by former councillor Josiah Austin to engage the community.”

“You may notice that none of our prospective candidates are ‘wanted’ by the police and so we can easily have a meeting with the police in the interest of the community. I know that several of our opponents cannot say the same.”

On Wednesday, Austin also posted on Facebook.

He wrote, “Regrettably, the denigration of this noteworthy event as an occasion to politicise the work of the TTPS is unfortunate and has led to this event being rescheduled. However, I remain steadfast in my commitment to my fellow residents as we collectively ensure that the safety and security of our community remains a matter of priority.”


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