NTA leader hits back after PM blanks offer to help fight crime – Griffith: Nation drowning in blood

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former police commissioner Gary Griffith.

This nation is drowning in blood, former police commissioner Gary Griffith said, as he responded to the prime minister rejecting his offer to help the government in its crime-fighting initiatives.

On June 5, Griffith – the political leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA) – posted a video online calling on Dr Rowley to put aside political differences and allow him (Griffith) to help the government combat the spiralling crime.

“As a former commissioner of police and a former minister of national security, I am willing yet again, to let you know that I am willing to help, because our country desperately needs it,” Griffith said in his June 5 video.

However, a local newspaper reported the prime minister as rejecting Griffith’s offer.

Responding to that newspaper’s report, Griffith said in a video posted online on June 6, he was not willing to help this government per se, but to serve the citizens who are the ones seeing “the nation drown in blood daily.”

On his offer being rejected, Griffith who was also a former national security minister said in his June 6 video, “It is indeed disappointing but not surprising, because yet again we see what happens when a man is so full of anger, hate and bitterness and he becomes totally out of control when he cannot have his way.

“He forgets everything as it pertains to listening to the voice of the people and forgetting your oath in office of serving those people.”

Griffith gave some statistics from when he was police commissioner during 2018-2021.

“It was the highest reduction of violent crimes in 17 years, every crime was reduced by over 30 per cent, it was the highest trust and confidence in the police at 59 per cent, the highest in the history of TT.”

He said when he first became CoP, the public’s trust in him as head of the TTPS was at 14 per cent and during his tenure, this rose to 59 per cent. He said trust in the current top cop is at eight per cent.

“It was also the highest trust and confidence in a CoP in decades, the country never felt that safe (in 15 year prior) and the transformation of the police service in terms of response time, accountability, image and delivery.”

He said today the work that he did in his time as CoP was being undone as he alluded to the dismantling of units, and the ending of policies and use of technology established under his watch.

Griffith also disagreed with the prime minister’s claim that the lockdown during the covid pandemic had a major role in the much-touted reduction in serious crimes during his tenure as top cop.

Griffith said during the lockdown crime increased in Jamaica, Guyana and the United States as millions of people either saw their earnings reduced or they lost their jobs, inflation increased and there was an increase in frustration and depression. However, during the lockdown, serious crimes in TT went down.

Griffith called on the media to remind Rowley that crime was decreasing before covid, under his tenure as CoP. “As you recall, 2020 Carnival was the safest in decades,” he said in his June 6 video.

“Outside of the state of emergency and curfew, in which criminals had full access to commit crime (May 2020-2021) there were less than 350 murders, which was the first time in over 15 years it went below 350. One year later we moved to over 600.”

Griffith said those who “blindly” support the PM, “prefer” the highest crime rate ever, lowest trust and confidence in the police service ever, and themselves are at a greater risk of falling victim to serious crimes.

“That blind political loyalty cannot make you safer!”

Griffith concluded by saying the reason why the trust and confidence of the police service was high. “Under my watch, every officer was made accountable and their performance measured.”