Griffith: Trinidad and Tobago becoming police state

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

NTA political leader and former police commissioner Gary Griffith. FILE PHOTO – Jeff K. Mayers

Former commissioner of police and National Transformation Alliance (NTA) political leader says TT is headed towards a police state.

He was referring to the recent court judgment in his favour.

On September 11, Justice Devindra Rampersad blocked the Financial Investigative Unit (FIU) from accessing Griffith and his wife’s bank accounts.

The Griffiths had challenged the legality of a request by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)’s acting director, Nigel Stoddard, to several financial institutions for information on their accounts.

The Griffiths’ claim said on October 28, 2022, the former top cop received information from an anonymous source that the FIU made a request to financial institutions for information on him and his wife as well as other people and entities, 52 in all.

The claim said the Griffiths became concerned that a State apparatus was being used in what appeared to be an “illegitimate manner” and in an apparent “witch hunt” with the hope to get information to tarnish his name and reputation.

In his statement on Monday, Griffith said, “The FIU’s attempt to access my wife’s and my bank accounts, along with several others, occurred without any suspicion of our involvement in a crime, being under investigation, or having any transactions flagged.

“This action blatantly violates the regulations that govern the FIU.”

Griffith said he was fortunate to have whistleblowers share information with him.

However, he said, “But this abuse of power could be targeted against anyone, including persons close to and aligned with this present government.”

He outlined a “ list of acts” which, he said, showed “a clear pattern of abuse and steps to dictatorship and a police state, would have caused a collapse of the government and fresh elections in many other countries across the world.

“Yet the silence is deafening, and even worse, some continue to support this abuse. Our democracy is rapidly being eroded and this must end.”