Clint Chan Tack
FORMER commissioner of police (CoP) Gary Griffith does not view statements made by acting CoP Erla Christopher on Friday as an indication that the police have “thrown in the towel” when it comes to fighting crime in TT.
Christopher is acting for acting CoP McDonald Jacob who is on vacation until January 20.
At a news conference at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Christopher called on women to understand their influence in the fight against crime and criminality.
“It is important because I know within the national community they are focusing on the fact that we would reach 600 murders but we as women have that ability, authority to influence.”
As of December 16, TT recorded 577 murders.
In a statement on Saturday, Griffith said Christopher’s call to all women to influence the men in their lives to change their behaviour, “was exactly what is needed at this time, as the country heads to that dangerous threshold of 600 murders in a single calendar year.”
He described Christopher’s words as “calm and reassuring but most of all non-political.”
Griffith said it is an important reminder to citizens that not everything which comes from the mouth of the head of the police service “must involve very apparent political bias, and attempts to destroy all that worked before, and doing all of this whilst shamelessly giving oneself a B Plus Grade.”
He welcomed a new hotline – 736-8877 (TTPS) – implemented by the police for people to contact them.
Griffith believed it was similar in nature to the 482-GARY hotline which was implemented during his three-year tenure.
“Cautiously optimistic, as I am sure many other citizens are, partly because it would take a monumental effort on Christopher’s part to be worse than Jacob, I want to urge the public to give her their full support, and even though picking up the pieces after Jacob will be difficult.”
He hoped Christopher remains undaunted and resolute in being nonpartisan.
Griffith advised Christopher not to fall victim “to political dictates, which requires one to go after opposition politicians, resist efforts to stymie investigations of government officials or friends of those in high office, and finally to not be afraid of turning around the crime rate.”
He was unfazed by reports that Christopher may soon proceed on accumulated leave.
Griffith said Christopher may have been advised by the Police Service Commission to proceed on leave so as to reduce the larger amount of leave that she may have.
It is unclear whether her leave will begin immediately after Jacob returns or before.
Christopher was not available for comment on Saturday.
On December 16, Christopher gave the assurance that the police service’s leadership will always be intact.
In a statement on November 15, the PSC said it previously hoped to complete the recruitment and selection process for a CoP by year’s end.
While it started the process of vetting of all candidates as required under the applicable law and governing the process for the establishment of an Order-of-Merit List for the office of CoP, the PSC said, “Unfortunately this process is now not expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Additional time has become necessary to ensure for a proper and in-depth security vetting of candidates.”
The commission said it now anticipates that it will complete the selection process for a CoP by January 31, 2023.
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