Police Commissioner Dismisses Concerns About his Presence in Parliament

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith

‘Stick to Politics and I’ll Stick to Policing,’ He Tells Moonilal

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Police Commissioner Gary Griffith Monday called for the non-politicisation of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) after an opposition legislator last weekend questioned his presence in Parliament during a debate on a motion to adopt a joint select committee’s report on the police manpower audit committee report.

“He needs to stick to politics and I will stick to policing. I think what is unfortunate is that certain people continue to attempt to politicise every single action and this does not support our democracy. I think what it in fact does is to assist unnecessarily in fuelling tension and division. Do not politicise the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. We have our job to do, he is just fast and out of place,” Griffith said on a radio programme here.

Last Friday, former housing minister Dr. Roodal Moonilal questioned Griffith’s presence in the House of Representatives during the contribution of National Security Minister Stuart Young to the debate.

Moonilal told legislators that the particular independence of the commissioner was spelt out in a 2006 bill amending the Constitution.

“I did not think it was proper to have the hierarchy of the Police Service corralled in Parliament to hear the Minister of National Security,” he said, as he questioned why bother with debating the report if Young had already sent it to Griffith to come up with a matrix for action.

But Griffith, a former national security minister and one time cabinet colleague of Moonilal, told radio listeners, he took his oath “seriously.

“I did it twice before…I cannot be bought or be influenced by anyone. So to question my independence by attending a public sitting of a matter that is of importance to the police service that I lead, I think it is totally uncalled for”.

Griffith said that if Moonlial in the future still has concerns of him attending Parliament public sittings “he should probably ask Parliament to change the sign on entry to include no firearms, no smoking, no Commissioner of Police.”

Griffith said that Moonilal “has his agenda and I have mine and I don’t want anybody to use their agenda to affect me in doing my job.

“I think for that Member of Parliament to attempt to question the independence of someone based in attending Parliament sitting as a visitor …does it mean that that sitting visitor is not independent.

“I think it is very unfortunate that he will not understand the value of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service as us seeing an interesting topic as this…,” Griffith added. – CMC