“I have friends who have Form 4 accounting and I can provide that to persons if they do not understand the difference between salaries and goods and services.”
A scathing criticism from the Police Commissioner aimed at the Finance Ministry after the minister said there was no issue with regard to the release of funds to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).
On Thursday, September 19, Griffith said he was running the TTPS on goodwill with creditors as it does not have any money to pay its suppliers. He said the only money available to him was to pay salaries and has not received funds since March 2019 to pay for goods and services.
But in the Parliament yesterday when asked by Opposition Member of Parliament Barry Padarath about Guardian Media’s report, Imbert said it was allegations as he said his staff informed him that near $244 million was given to the TTPS since March of this year.
He said: “$244 million, remember Madame Speaker that the allegation is we did not give one red cent for goods and services between March and September, and I can say that I had a discussion with the Police Commissioner not too long ago and I can say now that we intend to release grant of credits for the entire allocation for 2019 for the TTPS.”
But the Police Commissioner said he is not going to sit idly by for persons to play with numbers to give the impression that all is right with the TTPS.
“One cannot use personal expenditure which is salaries and box it into goods and services and boast about funds given to the TTPS,” Griffith said.
Furthermore, Griffith said the $244 million has already been spent because that was the first-ever disbursement given to the TTPS for goods and services and there were outstanding bills to pay.
“The money that was given in March was to satisfy bills we had from September last year, because remember nothing was given to us from September last year to March this year.”
Griffith said after that the TTPS still owed suppliers almost $112 million for the second half of the fiscal year (March-September 2019). He said $56 million was given a few days ago and he’s hoping to get the next $56 million soon as the money goes toward paying to maintain police vehicles, equipment and utilities.
And while the Finance Minister told the Parliament that the TTPS has received nearly 98 percent of its allocation the Commissioner says his math shows that up until the $56 million that was received recently, there was still a 40 percent shortfall in their allocation for goods and services.
Griffith said he does not want to get into a tit for tat with the Minister but said it would be unfair and disingenuous to pretend the shortfall in allocation was not an issue.