NATIONAL Security Minister Stuart Young yesterday assured that efforts are being made to address financial woes affecting the Police Service.
Young told Newsday, “I have communicated with both the Commissioner of Police Mr (Gary) Griffith and Minister of Finance Mr (Colm) Imbert on the issue of releases for the TTPS (TT Police Service).”
Young said Imbert informed him that he will be working with his staff at the ministry and the TTPS in identifying requests for releases and that releases are provided. Young explained there is a process to apply for releases of money. This process has to be completed by the Finance Ministry before it identifies the funds to release. “I am told that this is taking place,” Young said.
In a statement, the Finance Ministry criticised Newsday’s story “Squeeze for Police.” The ministry claimed that Griffith requested $80 million in funding for goods and services for the TTPS in a letter last December. To date, $20 million has been released for “equipment, services and supplies.”
A further $20 million is scheduled to be released in the next two weeks. The balance of $40 million will be paid next month. However, sources said there have been no releases to the TTPS’s financial branch to meet several expenses. These include the payment of non-lethal weapons such as Tasers and pepper spray, recently advanced by Griffith as a non-lethal alternative to firearm use.
Sources said the purchase of fuel for police vehicles, food for dogs and horses at the Canine and Mounted Branches have also been affected by this situation. On Saturday, Griffith declined to comment on the matter.
He said the TTPS has received an allocation in the 2018/2019 budget and he will use those funds in an effective manner.