Griffith: Trinidad and Tobago turning into a police state

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Gary Griffith –

NATIONAL Transformation Alliance (NTA) political leader Gary Griffith claimed that a decision by the National Security Council (NSC) to review certain operations of the police after a shooting incident at Courts Megastore in San Juan on Sunday is an attempt by the Prime Minister to turn TT into a police state.

A statement issued by the National Security Ministry on Tuesday said, in the wake of the incident, the NSC would “initiate the conduct of an immediate review of the relevant laws, regulations, and practices, surrounding certain aspects of the operations of the TT Police Service (TTPS).”

The NSC, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, took this decision after an extra-ordinary meeting on Tuesday.

Two people were killed in that incident.

In a statement on Wednesday, Griffith said, “Attempting to mask their intent by claiming the public is concerned about the recent shooting at Courts Megastore, citizens should not be fooled.”

The former police commissioner and national security minister claimed, “This is not about crime; it is about using this tragic incident for their sole objective – to exercise control over the TTPS in their ultimate goal of making TT a police state.”

Griffith agreed with UNC deputy political leader Dr Roodal Moonilal that the NSC was a Cabinet sub-committee that delt with policy and not the direct operations of any national security entity such as the police.

As such, he said the NSC could undertake no review of the police’s operations.

Griffith said there was no precedent for the NSC to review the operations of any national security agency.

“Proof of this is that no such review was ever done when a Coast Guard vessel, in firing upon a boat, killed a child. No review is initiated when prison officers are caught smuggling cell phones and other contraband into prisons, when TTDF (TT Defence Force) shell casings are found on murder scenes, or when licensing officers are charged with corrupt practices, such as issuing fake driver’s permits or conducting fraudulent vehicle transfers.”

Griffith said people must ask why the police is being singled out for such a review with respect to crime.