Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2013 Contents National Security Minister Gary Griffith
must forgive the public for being dubious
about his announcement of yet another
examination of the police service.
The population has already seen---and
paid for---studies, crime plans, importa-
tion of foreign experts and the setting-
out of time frames for the successful
transformation of the police service.
So it s hard to be excited about the
news that Mr Griffith is to fly in former
New York police commissioner Bill Brat-
ton, as first proposed by one of his pred-
ecessors, Mr Jack Warner.
Why? Because such testing, study,
planning and reorganisation of the police
service by local and foreign experts go
back to Sir Ellis Clarke, Victor Bruce, the
O Dowd report, Mastrofski, Scotland Yard
and the several attempts by government
and opposition to come together to
counter crime and fix the criminal justice
system---not to mention the master plans,
named and unnamed, of several ministers
of national security.
Yet there has been no real assault on
criminal culture and activity. The police
service remains infected with corrupt
police officers, so much so that Mr Grif-
fith thinks he has to get a study and
possibly bring yet another fixer from the
It may be a bit premature and unfair to
make a substantial judgment just yet
about the newly installed minister. Con-
cern about success or failure is in fact
based on the really poor record of
national security ministers that perhaps
dates back as far as the recently deceased
Brig Joseph Theodore, the only one in
recent times to have had a sustained a
measure of success.
The criminal enterprise has grown
bolder, more capable of carrying out its
actions and has spread its tentacles
everywhere in the interim.
What is amazing is that previous police
commissioners and ministers have all
claimed success, yet that is not reflected
in the reduction in actual criminal activi-
ty in any significant manner. Nor has
there been any greater feeling of security
among the citizenry.
If there is a deficiency that could be
fairly laid at Mr Griffith s doorstep so far,
it is the absence of an initiative focused
on action in the now that would bring
results in the short term.
Added to that is the political games-
manship he engaged in last week in the
Parliament about Reshmi Ramnarine and
whether or not she authorised illegal
phonetapping. How is that going to assist
in bringing down criminal gangs, one
would have to ask the minister.
So far, Mr Griffith has talked about
returning to the crime plans of another
import, Dwayne Gibbs.
On this score, if they now deem the
Gibbs plan to be viable and imple-
mentable, the Prime Minister and her
entire Cabinet along with the former
minister, Jack Warner, must take respon-
sibility for not only heaping scorn on the
plan but unceremoniously dumping its
As a former army captain accustomed
to action and results rather than empty
rhetoric, Mr Griffith must be fully aware
that time is short for himself and the PP
government. More than half its term of
office has gone, and people want results,
not robber talk in the Parliament and
going back over the beaten track.
Successful action is what is required of
Mr Griffith. And the fate of the PP gov-
ernment may now rest on his shoulders.
We share United Nations Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon's view that the Syrian crisis
represents the "biggest challenge to peace
and security in the world" today.
More than 110,000 people have been killed in
the fighting between rebel and government
forces, an estimated four million people have
been internally displaced, and at least two
million Syrians have fled their homeland to
The upshot has been the creation of a mas-
sive refugee problem for Syria's neighbours.
Late last week we learnt that European
Union (EU) governments are bracing for a
surge in Syrian refugees as hopes fade for a
quick end to the deadly civil war.
Yesterday, in his state of the world address
to open the United Nations General Assem-
bly, Mr Ban urged the UN Security Council to
adopt an "enforceable" resolution on the
US/Russia framework agreement to disman-
tle Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Mr Ban, rightfully, wants the international
community to work at getting both sides in
the Syria conflict to the negotiating table.
We believe that differences, no matter how
great, can be resolved by dialogue.
However, given President al-Assad's demand
that, in exchange for Syria giving up its
chemical weapons, the United States must
first stop arming the Syrian opposition, and
his requirement that Israel ratify the chemi-
cal weapons pact, we don't foresee any such
dialogue happening soon.
It is against that background that we agree
with US President Barack Obama that the
UN Security Council should agree to hold the
al-Assad regime responsible if it fails to live
up to the terms of the framework agree-
As to who is responsible for the chemical
weapons attack on civilians on August 21,
they should not be allowed to live free of
What is amazing is that previous police commissioners and ministers have all claimed success, yet
that is not reflected in the reduction in actual criminal activity in any significant manner. Nor has there
been any greater feeling of security among the citizenry.
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SOUND OFF: President Obama, Ban Ki-moon spot on
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No more dead-end crime plans, please
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