Gary Griffith –
THE Prime Minister on Monday alleged that the Opposition views the current crime rate as helpful to their chances of getting into power, replying to questions at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Dr Rowley began by saying calls for crime talks did not excuse the Government from its responsibility to govern.
He said it was his view that the Opposition did not wish to see any improvement in the crime situation.
“That is a political bonanza for them.”
He said if just because of his absence, the Opposition was not naming its members of the crime talk panel, it could not be serious about crime.
Rowley scoffed at the Opposition’s call to open the talks to various other bodies such as NGOs, as he said, “These are known issues.”
He complained of a lack of support by the Opposition for the Government Bail Bill and Anti-Gang Bill, until the former became so watered down in Parliament as to garner Opposition backing. The PM accused the Opposition of refusing to participate in an anti-crime joint select committee (JSC).
Regarding the back and forth over the crime talks, he accused the Opposition of “self promotion.”
In contrast, he added, “I have work up to my eyeballs.”
He said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has his phone number and address in order to find him if she wishes to talk to him about crime.
“If the Opposition Leader wants to see me, I’ll tell her come.”
Rowley said that for Persad-Bissessar to insist former commissioner of police (CoP) Gary Griffith be part of the negotiations was sufficient to “tell you all you needed to know.”
He complained he was injuncted from saying much about Griffith but he knew things others did not know.
“Of course he’s qualified to talk about crime.”
Persad-Bissessar, in a statement later, said, “Crime continues to be a pressing issue but Rowley cannot get over his fears and insecurities to lead his own team.”
Saying the PM said he was not attending the crime talks, she said, “He believes he can appoint five of his worst ministers to these talks. Five people who have a record of failure, incompetence and dishonesty.”
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley did not acknowledge her October 14 letter seeking clarification.
She accused him of giving a false impression to the population that the Opposition said Griffith must attend and this was a “deal breaker.”
“He has resurrected his weird love/hate relationship with Gary Griffith.
“In a nutshell, Rowley has let the cat out of the bag and revealed why he refuses to respond to my letters seeking clarification and why he does not want to lead the crime talks. He simply cannot get over his Gary Griffith tabanca.”
Griffith, in a voice note to media houses, viewed Rowley’s earlier remarks as “erratic, emotional, angry, trying to attack the whole world instead of looking in the mirror.”
He accused Rowley of trying to mislead the country in his remarks about being injuncted by a court.
Griffith said under his tenure as commissioner of police, public trust in the police was at its highest and there was the greatest reduction in violent crime.
On the current situation, Griffith told Rowley, “That is your doing! You are responsible for the situation the country is in now.”
Griffith sought to liken the injuncted report of a civilian probe into him to the E-mailgate report.