Former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has described the series of events that led to yesterday’s court ruling, as a “frontal attack on democracy” and maintains that there was a calculated plot to remove him.
He insists, though, that his service to country is not over, despite a court ruling that has made his acting CoP appointment null and void.
He also criticised departments of State which he said were responsible for the chaos regarding the reappointment of a new CoP and accused some of being at the front of an attack on democracy.
“This is not about Gary Griffith. This is about Trinidad and Tobago and our institutions. To this day, this minute, I am yet to be told what has been my ‘crime’ and who is my accuser.
“I have been asked to defend myself from something as of yet not spelt out, and as was confirmed, that I was not the subject of any investigation.
“If as the then sitting Commissioner of Police, this type of violation of principles of natural justice could be cast aside in the full view of the public by those with the power, well then this says much more about our institutions, systems and leaders than it can ever say about me,” he said in a statement after the ruling.
He said throughout this period, the nation has watched “a massive conspiracy by a few who seem bent on doing all that they can to ensure that I do not sit in the seat of Commissioner of Police.”
“A few elements within this country appear to thrive on confusion and bacchanal and on this, I have no intention of engaging, for to engage is to suggest I need this job for my own personal benefit.
“If the powers that be do not want me in office, that’s their prerogative. Service to country comes in many varied permutations,” he said.
He continued: “There are certain institutions that held all the power. I could have been told at any stage that a different direction was preferred. There was no need to attempt to impugn my integrity. This is the only aspect of this saga that I will continue to fight to the end.”
As part of his claim of a conspiracy, he pointed to:
“Two merit lists for acting and substantive appointments being withheld,
Blatant false statements made by the then PSC chairman that I was interfering with an investigation,
PSC chairman having me suspended without authorisation or rationale,
One specific official being out of place to tell me not to report to work, and then referring to me as a civilian as if this is something that is demeaning in his eyes,
And a one-man minority report from a two-member committee by someone with no law enforcement authority, making false allegations without a shred of evidence, being leaked to a media reporter, and published, all in an attempt to affect my character.”
He said this demonstrated a “level of desperation to have me removed from office without due process.”
He added, “The PSC chairman operated individually, illegally with impunity and as is the case in this country, will likely face no consequences whatsoever. But as I said earlier, in this town, bacchanal becomes news and folklore becomes fact.”
Griffith also took issue with a politician who told him to stay at home and referred to him as a civilian. Although he did not call a name, those comments were all attributed to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds in various media reports over the last few weeks.
He said:“We are witnessing a frontal attack on our democracy.There is currently no regard for the separation of powers. Despite the Prime Minister stating recently that ‘sergeants could keep sargeanting, and inspectors could keep inspecting’ without a sitting Commissioner of Police, and whilst I understand this to imply seemingly there is no real merit placed on the office of CoP, I still wish to take this opportunity to thank the Honourable Prime Minister for the opportunity to be of service.”
He added: “In hindsight, perhaps my being ‘too efficient, too independent and too impartial of service,’ may have been contributing factors to this saga.
“To the men and women of the TTPS, I encourage you to ignore those who seek to impugn your work ethic stating that you are only operating at 40% capacity. I saw your inputs, over the last three years, and whilst there is always room for improvement, there is no room for uncalled for debasement.”
He ended by saying: “Having served as a Military Officer, Military Attaché’ to a President and Prime Minister, Minister of National Security, National Security Advisor and Police Commissioner, I can safely say, this civilian understands the meaning of the word service, and will await the next strategic move in treating with the already completed and delivered merit list. I can assure you, my days of service are not over.”