Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2014 Contents A15
January 5, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith yesterday hit back at critics
of his crime fighting plans and poli-
cies, declaring that he has only just
Griffith issued a statement yester-
day in response to comments from
former chairman of the Police Service
Commission (PSC) Nizam
Mohammed and attorney-at-law
Dana Seetahal. He described them
as arm chair critics who have no
experience or knowledge in security,
but were quick to condemn while
society continues to see a decay of
the nation s security.
On Friday. Mohammed said Griffith
had no power to fire or hire any police
officers, whether "rogue" or not. See-
tahal said under the T&T Constitution
a commissioner of police has singu-
larly more power than any other head
of department or division and, while
he may be chastised or corrected by
the PSC or the courts, the Minister
of National Security cannot take over
any of his functions.
Both were reponding to a report
on Thursday in which the minister
was quoted as saying he intended to
transform national security structure
and fire rogue police officers.
Griffith said yesterday: "I have
every intention to continue to do
what needs to be done, and would
advise those who choose to persist
to lay in wait to criticise---that I have
only just begun. So to those who see
everything half empty, and intend to
spend their time in telling me what
powers I do not have, I hereby quote
my Commander in Chief (President
Anthony Carmona) by saying that
the powers that you feel that I do
not have, I actually do ."
Griffith said it was unfortunate
that Seetahal thought his primary
function was to simply provide assets
and funds to law enforcement agen-
"I have no intention to be an arm-
chair minister, but one who would
do what is required to ensure that
the proper policies are implemented
to ensure better management of our
law enforcement agencies," he said.
The minister reiterated that if police
officers underperform, "that they can
and should be dismissed". He accused
Seetahal of defending the few rogue
elements based on industrial rela-
"But such irresponsible statements
and actions could probably be said
by such persons who sit in their well
protected ivory towers, sometimes
easily forgetting about the hundreds
of thousands who need State pro-
tection and a competent, accountable
police service, because they cannot
afford to protect themselves," he said
The minister said such senseless
comments have caused our law
enforcement agencies to be stagnant,
with people fighting to defend what
is wrong, rather than saying what
should be done to make it right.
He said: "I have no intention to
stroke egos, as this has been an ele-
ment that has plagued our society,
with certain persons fighting for turf
and always trying to find an excuse
to say why things cannot be done
and changes cannot be made, instead
of finding remedies and recommen-
dations to make it happen."
Griffith said Mohammed and See-
tahal had missed the simple facts.
He said he would continue to stand
firm on his position that rogue ele-
ments in the police service should
"To interpret this statement as
saying that I, Gary Griffith, would
be the one to fire them, means that
perhaps some persons are so blinded
by their personal feelings about the
messenger, that they have completely
misconstrued the message," he said.
Petrotrin has agreed to provide
extended medical hours for La Brea
residents affected by one of the
worst oil spills in T&T s history.
This follows complaints from res-
idents about poor medical care.
They raised the issue during a meet-
ing with Petrotrin officials at the
Brighton Community Centre yes-
Petrotrin communications man-
ager George Commissiong, manager
of personnel operations Guneshdath
Maharaj and on-scene commander
Lee Loy Chin Wing, were on hand
hear the complaints. Ralph Joseph
told them his nine-month-old son
was experiencing constipation
because of the fumes.
"This is a disaster zone. I live at
Point Sable beach and no medical
officer has yet visited that area,"
He complained that the nurses
at the temporary medical station in
Brighton were hostile.
"A woman called me at 12.30 am
to say her child cannot breathe.
There was nobody at the medical
station and there was no ambulance.
When we called the Petrotrin hos-
pital they told us we cannot be
treated because we are not Petrotrin
employees," he said.
Another resident, Jermel Pierre,
said they did not know the name
or contents of the medication given
to them by nurses at the station.
"We don t know what we taking.
There is no doctor at the station.
The triage system set up by
Petrotrin is inadequate. What we
need is relocation out of here. We
do not know the long term impact
it will have on us and it is three
weeks now we are breathing in oil
fumes," he said.
Pierre said the carcasses of igua-
nas, pelicans and fishes were wash-
ing up on the beaches.
"The mouth of the river is thick
with oil and yet they saying that
the beaches have been cleaned.
They are burying the oil," he said.
Commissiong said that Petrotrin
had extended the working hours at
the medical station from 8 am to
6 pm. Anyone who falls ill after 6
pm, will be treated at Petrotrin s
medical facilities in Point Fortin.
Ching Wing also said roads will
be cleaned twice a day and they
will work with residents to get the
site cleaned as quickly as possible.
Extended medical hours for La Brea residents
Griffith: I won't be
an armchair minister
Orville London, Chief Secretary, THA, and National Security Minister, Gary Griffith met at Mt Irvine Bay Hotel
and Golf Club to discuss security strategies for Tobago. PHOTO COURTESY INFO DEPT/THA
Petrotrin's communications manager George Commissiong, centre, speaks to La Brea residents during a meeting
yesterday. With him are the company's manager of personnel operations, Guneshdath Maharaj, left, and on scene
commander, Lee Loy Chin Wing. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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