Last update: 10-Dec-2013 10:54 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Gary: No New Plan
Although the Prime Minister delivered her first public mandate to newly-appointed National Security Minister Gary Griffith to “bring the crime down, and bring it down fast” yesterday, Griffith told the media there would be no new crime plan coming from him.
Instead, Griffith said he will be looking at all the recommendations from varying sectors of the society, including other political parties and non-governmental organisations, and will work with the existing initiatives and programmes in place in the People’s Partnership’s latest drive to eradicate the crime problem.
“Anybody that feels they want to be part of this, we have to circle the wagons and understand who the criminal elements are,” Griffith said yesterday after he was sworn in by President Anthony Carmona at President’s House, St Ann’s. Griffith said former national security minister Emmanuel George had handed over the ministry to him, having laid a good foundation, and he expects he will be able to achieve his mandate by building on this. “I will just continue the process and we will continue,” he said.
Griffith said his main goal was to provide support and listen to the people who had ideas that could help reduce crime. “We are not going to have anti-crime plans based on ideas and hope. It is going to be clinical and based on data and analysing the threat assessments, upon which we will then be able to implement the anti-crime strategies.” Asked whether he will be presenting his own crime plan, Griffith said no.
“We already know what is required, what we need to go out and do now is to implement,” he said. He said it took much more than blimps and OPVs to prevent crime and he will also be looking more at the social issues. Griffith said he also did not intend to overstep his boundaries and would allow the law enforcement agencies, who he claimed were the “frontline,” to do their job.
Asked about the public distrust of law enforcement officers, Griffith said he will address the issue and if necessary weed out the rogue elements in the law enforcement services.
“I would put it as a contract between citizens of T&T and the law enforcement officers, where the citizens will say, ‘I will provide you with the information that you require, once you treat me with respect and you listen to me and you work for me,’ and the police will say, ‘I am here to work for you, but you need to give me that information and the trust that I require,’” he said.
“We need to get to that trust of the people in the Police Service and if it involves putting in mechanisms to weed out the rogue elements in the service, then so be it.” Asked if he felt his involvement in the police probe on the alleged Section 34 e-mails read in Parliament in May by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley would not represent a conflict of interest or compromise his position, Griffith said only that he found the comments on the matter unfortunate.
“We need to stop dealing with red herrings and start to look at the issue,” he said. “Poor Mr Rowley, he was set up. I have a job to do and they have a job to do and if they feel their job is to say things because the role of the Opposition is to oppose, well that is a pity.”
He said he intended to go to the Opposition and ask them to come on board and work as a team to reduce crime.
Griffith was sworn in along with along with new Minister in the Ministry of Gender and Child Development Raziah Ahmed and Communications Minister Gerald Hadeed. In an interview afterwards, Persad-Bissessar said she had these words for Griffith: “You better smile while we are taking these photos, it might be your last smile as the hard work hits you.” She expressed confidence in the new members of her Government, adding that she had known the three for a long time and trusted they would do a good job.
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