Last update: 30-Jul-2014 5:29 am
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Griffith plans war against gangsters
“We don’t negotiate with criminals.” This was the statement made yesterday by National Security Minister Gary Griffith as he plans to wage war against gangs leaders and other criminal elements. He was speaking in the wake of recent shootings by gang members against law enforcement officers in the past month. Last week Saturday, gunmen opened fire on officers who were parked at the side of a road in John John, Laventille, which injured three people, including an eight-year-old boy. The day before that officers were subjected to rapid gunfire by gunmen at Beverly Hills, Laventille.
In a phone interview yesterday, Griffith said when officers defended themselves, members of the public protested against it. “What happens is when the officers retaliate it is the same individuals who associate with them (criminals) jump up and defend them. They are not helping society, they are leeches and parasites. “If they want to fight, they pick the wrong one. The law enforcement agencies need to fight back and let them know their place,” he said. Griffith said he had no plans for T&T to end up like Jamaica where gang members controlled communities.
He added: “T&T would not end up like Jamaica where certain gangs took control of communities and called it their turf. “They don’t own that and if they want turf let them pay for it and it is not through the barrel of a gang. This would not be a place where in communities no one has access to it. “I am not talking the talk. I am demanding that no criminal elements involved in criminal activity should get contracts from the State in any way. “The reason is the principles of war. You don’t financially support them and pay for their drugs and their gang members.
“How can we now ask law enforcement officers to take care of the enemy. My concept is to cut their financial supply which feeds their support base. “We don’t negotiate with criminals and I need support from members of the public for evidence for successful arrests,” he said. Crime had been reduced by 38 per cent and homicides by 25 per cent, he said. “I can cut it to 60 per cent. A handful of figures are manipulating the younger ones and they are the big fish. I am calling on the public to assist. They want fight... they will get one,” he said. Griffith said his ministry was forming a National Security special operation group of highly trained task force officers to deal with criminal activity, terrorism, explosives and gang-related activities.