Last update: 12-Dec-2013 11:44 pm
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Grace period for Security Minister
The Police Service Social and Welfare Association has thrown its full support behind new National Security Minister Gary Griffith, saying there will be an open door policy between the association and the minister. After three months, however, the association intends to review Griffith’s performance. Making the statement yesterday was the association’s secretary, acting Insp Michael Seales, who added that with Griffith’s extensive background in law enforcement, he should have a greater appreciation of the challenges of police officers.
“We welcome Minister Griffith, as we are committed to working with any minister of national security,” Seales said. “We, the Police Service, as the premier law enforcement body, have many issues to discuss with Mr Griffith. “We know Mr Griffith brings to the table a wealth of experience and expertise and we want to establish very good relations with him. We believe he has a lot to offer. But after three months the ‘honeymoon’ would be over for Mr Griffith.”
Shortly after Griffith was announced as the replacement for Emmanuel George on Thursday, the new National Security Minister said: “Enough talk. The time for action is now.” This statement has been endorsed by the association. Seales said among the burning issues they hope to immediately address with Griffith were the slow pace of promotions, the regularisation of Special Reserve Police Officers (SRPs) and the low morale in the service.
“Immediately on the heels of that, Minister Griffith must now understand there were concerns which were being addressed by the former minister that have not been totally resolved as yet and I believe these matters must be looked at as soon as possible,” Seales said. He said in the past there were many cosmetic approaches to crime-fighting and the time for that has ended.
Expressing confidence that Griffith would use a “concentrated effort” to bring about “positive changes in the Police Service and in the country,” Seales said he hoped the association would be included in the decision making process. Contacted yesterday, Griffith said among his “front burning issues” was to meet with the association to bring all outstanding issues to a close. Saying, however, that he had not “sat in the chair as yet,” Griffith said it was a position he was “quite comfortable with.”
“I have a fair working knowledge of security. I am fully aware of the concerns. I know most of those individuals in the law enforcement agencies and I want that relationship to continue to be cordial,” Griffith said. “Those officers are the ones who go out in front and my job as a minister is to ensure they have the proper equipment, proper training and the proper policies for them to go ahead and implement.”
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