CONGRESS of the People (COP) leader Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan is questioning the Prime Minister’s justification for supporting Gary Griffith to be the new Commissioner of Police (CoP).
On Tuesday, she told Newsday she had a different recollection to the PM of Griffith’s positions on political eruptions within the former People’s Partnership government involving former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former sport minister Anil Roberts.
In the House of Representatives during debate on Griffith’s nomination on Monday, Rowley hailed Griffith’s stance on Ramlogan regarding witness-tampering allegations with respect to Police Complaints Authority director David West and with regard to Roberts’ role in his ministry’s controversial Life Sport programme.
Seepersad-Bachan queried Griffith’s political record and also asked whether a former politician should now hold an independent post of CoP.
She said Griffith had been an active politician in the United National Congress (UNC), the Alliance of Independents (AOI) and the COP, including being campaign manager for his wife Nicole Dyer-Griffith in last year’s COP leadership election in which Dyer-Griffith was ultimately disallowed. “Certain senior public posts require impartiality and you are not to be perceived as politically biased.”
She said Griffith’s appointment as CoP would create a precedent for politically-affiliated individuals to fill other independent posts.
Seepersad-Bachan rubbished Rowley’s view that Griffith had stood up against Roberts.
“It is the Congress of the People who stood up and asked for Roberts’ resignation and an investigation of Life Sport.”
She was also unimpressed about Griffith’s role in the affair over West, whom Griffith had allegedly called at Ramlogan’s request.
“Griffith was not removed because he stood up to any minister, but because it was revealed he was the one who made the call to the witness.”
She said Griffith should not have made that phone call, but instead should have reported the whole matter to the authorities.
Otherwise, Seepersad-Bachan said if the Government had deemed the Police Service Commission’s whole selection process as “flawed”, no nominee should have been chosen, including Griffith.
She was also concerned about choosing a new commissioner in the absence of any reform of the systems, processes and structure of the TT Police Service.
“Gary Griffith has great ideas, but it must fit into new systems and new processes.”