Opposition MP Donna Cox is claiming National Security adviser to the Prime Minister Gary Griffith is running the National Security Ministry. Cox said this in her contribution on Saturday morning in the Parliamentary debate on the motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. She said Griffith “seems to have all the answers to the national security problems.” She said Griffith should be reminded that his job was to advise Persad-Bissessar “because he dips his mouth into everything.” Cox wanted to know if National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy was “aware that this adviser (Griffith) calls heads of department of the Ministry of National Security and the Protective Services and gives them instructions, reads them the riot act and promises to take them to the Prime Minister.” Cox said: “Why is Gary Griffith being allowed to run the ministry when there is a substantive Ministry of National Security?”
She told legislators that it was Griffith who informed others about prisoners cutting her lawn. Cox said she had no lawn but the prisoners had cut a tree in her yard and that was part of the hard labour sentence for prisoners.
Cox also spoke about some invoices she had from a company called Building Made Easy Construction Services, which was contracted to do work for the ministry. She said the ministry paid the company for 25 bags of cement at a price of $70 per bag. Cox said a bag of cement sells for about $50; a gallon of sanding sealant at a price of $400. She said the product sells for just over $100. Cox said the items were grossly overpriced.
She said in many ministries, overpriced goods and services were being paid for by the Government. She disclosed the individual who discovered the corruption had been removed and called an obstructionist. “Many of them are being harassed, transferred or fired if they speak out,” Cox added. Cox also wanted to know what happened to $80,000 deposited in an FCB account for payment to athletes in last year’s Hampton Games.
Cox questioned why the National Amateur Athletics Association was not allowed to manage the event and a rival committee, comprising COP activists established to run the event. Cox said $83,000 was deposited in First Citizens bank...and by the end of July the bank account was depleted.” She said the money was not used to pay athletes as many of them are complaining of not being paid. Cox said the Fraud Squad is investigating the matter. Cox also spoke about the appointment of Boxu Potts as Special Adviser to the Boxing Board of Trinidad and Tobago.
She claimed he is receiving the following benefits:
Retainer fee $15,000 per month’
automobile allowance $3,000
house allowance $5,000
phone allowance $1,500
She said the contract also provided for the Board to pay all Potts’ foreign travel, including meals, accommodation and a per-diem. She said the cost of local workshops organised by Potts is to be paid by the board. (RL)