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for 26th SEPTEMBER, 2013
She also cautioned him, "You
should also be careful of those
who say you re doing great and
not to worry, those who are
blowing your trumpet."
On Griffith s statements that
gangsters would not get gov-
ernment contracts, Beckles
urged caution, noting the police
recently had a meeting with
gang members to try and broker
She also said gang members
get contracts for work, adding,
"As we speak, one gang member
has a contract to repair a police
"You serious?" said PNM
Beckles said she wondered if
Griffith would probe that con-
tract and end it now that he was
But she said Griffith had to
be careful in speaking without
facts, and gang members also
had families to feed.
"You have to be careful with
the speed with which you take
decisions also," she warned.
"You re not dealing with ten-
dering of contracts, so when
you say they won t get contracts,
you don t have the authority to
deal with tenders and the like.
Be careful what people are telling
you, as it s not that simple."
Contacted yesterday, Beckles
said: "This is a very sensitive
matter and having regard to Mr
Griffith s intent, which is laud-
able, I m asking him to probe
this matter of a police station
being repaired via contract to a
gang member. I ve done so sim-
ply because he indicated that is
an approach he will take as a
method of dealing with crime."
Also contacted yesterday, act-
ing Police Commissioner
Stephen Williams said he hadn t
yet heard Beckles statement
and would wait to see reports
Beckles wants Griffith
to probe contract
Continued from Page A1
"You re arming them
for war!" Independent
senator Rolph Balgobin s
said on contracts being
given to gang members.
Wednesday night s Sen-
ate budget debate, Bal-
gobin said T&T s security
is precarious and local
intelligence systems need
"It is scandalous that
three years into a new government we still don t
have a full formal appointment of a commissioner
of police, and that shouldn t be, if crime is T&T s
number one problem," he said.
Balgobin said the police know of the "big mis-
"One of the biggest misters is the State...(in
that) a lot of the violent activity we re seeing is
over state contracts. It s not all for drug demands.
That s not the only thing fuelling the violence out
there," he said
"Stop giving contracts to criminals. And I don t
want to hear any minister of national security say
he s going to do it, I want him to come and say
he has done it."
"You can t buy peace---you re merely arming
them for war."
Balgobin said there are now people in T&T who
"You don t have to import bullets any more,
you can buy it locally," he said.
Balgobin said what is being described as AR15
rifles being used in T&T are really Bushmaster
guns, one of which was used in the massacre of
more than 20 youngsters and teachers in Newtown,
Connecticut, several months ago.
He also listed weaponry reported in T&T, includ-
ing AK 47s and others using .627mm bullets which,
he said, can blow "a hole the size of a grapefruit"
in a person.
"The bulletproof vests police are using are not
stopping those rounds," he added.
Balgobin also said T&T school violence is now
a much-chronicled item on the Internet s YouTube,
with a lot of "girl on girl" action in fights.
"Our girls are just as violent as our boys," Bal-
Speaking to the T&T Guardian
after Cabinet yesterday, Griffith---
who declined to identify the police
station under repairs---said there
are indeed gang members who
have state agency contracts.
"I don't even have to
investigate...I know for a fact that
is so," he said.
"And they would be using these
same contracts to get profits and
use that same profit to acquire
more guns to attack the same
police who we're asking to protect
Saying he intends to plug that
artery, Griffith said: "If they intend
to continue that life of crime and
use their profits from contracts
for this, we'll have to pull the plug
"There is a watch list and I
intend to change this to blacklist
such persons. This isn't a witch-
hunt. If people move away from a
life of crime and we have no
evidence on them, that's different.
"But if they want continue to
pursue their activities and use
profits from government
contracts to purchase more
weapons and be involved in drugs
and hire gang members to commit
mayhem, I'll pull the plug on that,"
"So we have people on a watch
list and I intend to have them
blacklisted. If we're aware that
organised crime has an avenue to
acquire funds to continue their
trade, my job is to cut that artery
and dismantle these gangs...we'll
be indirectly aiding and abetting
criminal activity in providing them
with assets and finances to get
contracts if this continues.
"I'm not into the Robin Hood
type of lifestyle, where people say
they're doing this to aid the
communities, as they're not. What
they're doing is using these profits
to hire gang members and
purchase guns and drugs and it's
causing chaos in the community.
different positive way, drop their
weapons and move forward with
their life, I don't have a problem
with that, but if they intend to
PNM's Cox, who said gang
members are also being hired in
the Community Environmental
Programme (Cepep) and by
government ministries, called on
Griffith to "talk to your colleagues
first if you're serious about
Works Minister Suruj
Rambachan, whose ministry
handles segments of the
Unemployment Relief Programme
(URP) project, said in the URP,
companies bid for contracts.
Asked if there were screening
procedures to prevent infiltration
by undesirable elements, he said if
people applied for work, it had to
Congress of the People (COP)
MP Anil Roberts said when people
came to constituency offices
seeking assistance, "nobody walks
with a stamp on their forehead
that they're a gang member. As
MPs we're here to help those who
seek help within our means."
Asked if he would support
Griffith's crackdown on gang
members, Roberts said: "I support
his efforts. He's trying to make
T&T better so whatever help I can
give, I will."
He said the PP had proposed
the Constituency Development
Fund, allowing MPs' divisions $10
million each to assist
constituencies, "but the PNM
doesn't support it..."
GRIFFITH CONFIRMS CONTRACT
gangs for war
Members of the St Francois
Girls' College steel orchestra
perform during the launch of
the third annual Do Right
hosted by the Integrity
Commission at Queen's Hall,
St Ann's, yesterday.
PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
ST FRANCOIS SYMPHONY
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