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Tuesday 10 December 2019
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What camouflage reveals

Police commissioner Gary Griffith
PHOTO BY MARK LYNDERSAY
Police commissioner Gary Griffith PHOTO BY MARK LYNDERSAY

AS TOLD TO BC PIRES

My name is Gary Griffith and I am a St Mary’s/Sandhurst old boy and I’m using all the traits I acquired at those two institutions to try to make TT a better country.

I spent most of my life as an only child in the very boring Valsayn Park, but I (often) ran away to my grandmother’s massive family in Diego Martin to enjoy things that, unfortunately, many people don’t experience in Trinidad now.

Doors were left open and children could walk free.You could go up the hill, pick mangoes, climb over the mountain, come back in the afternoon. Boat-racing in the canal.

Now, young persons, inclusive of my son, have to spend their time behind locked doors and in front of some screen.

I really didn’t need to become commissioner of police. Both my parents died back-to-back about three months before I became (the United National Congress) national security minister.

And they both did pretty well, so I inherited quite a bit.

They were divorced for 25-odd years so it looks like they couldn’t live with each other but, apparently, couldn’t live without each other either.

My father was an old QRC boy and a true Trini. He loved everyone and everybody loved him.

My mother was rigid, meticulous, stringent.I take character traits from both. One day, round the Savannah – I was about 14 – I asked a sno-cone man if he had a valid food badge.

I never get cussed so in my life!

I realised that day I mustn’t use all the traits of my parents!

This country is full of negativity.

In England, if Newcastle is being demoted from the Premiership, there will be 80,000 people in the stands for their last game.

In TT, as soon as we feel we may not qualify, nobody turns up. That is how we are.

Everyone who’s tried to do something for this country – the Brian Laras, the Stern Johns, the Russel Latapys, the Dwight Yorkes, Minshall, Rudder – they’re recognised as role models internationally – but they’re ridiculed at home. The national U-15 football team – little boys just trying to play football – and the country tried to destroy and undermine them.

You can criticise it but you must stand firm with your country.

Who has more problems now than the United States or the United Kingdom? But how many of them attack their own country? In Africa, all over the world – but, in this country, we attack our own.

You may not have voted for a prime minister but he or she still represents YOU! The more you ridicule the prime minister, the more you undermine your own country!

I’ve noticed that the people who know very little about any topic are the ones who speak the most.

I want to tell people: have faith! Believe! Trust!

When it comes to the main problem, crime, people feel the easiest thing to do is to blame the politicians, blame the police.

Police commissioner Gary Griffith. PHOTO BY MARK LYNDERSAY

But when you do that, you’re attacking your own.

We are not the enemy. Trying to demonise us is not helping.

Maybe it’s my military training but I work towards a chain of command of my God, my country and the citizens.

If BC Pires tells me that people say I like to pose with guns for pictures, I ask, “Who wants death threats?”

I don’t need to advertise. If people say, “Gary Griffith loves the camera,” it shows (their own) ignorance. I am just doing what is required.

I see individuals who do that as hypocritical. I don’t go to the media, the media comes to me. So, because of me being accessible, you try to condemn me for it?

I have stepped on many toes. There have been 27 death threats on me and my family from criminal elements in my first year as police commissioner.

Before me, there wasn’t any death threat on any commissioner probably for years. So it means I’m doing something right.

I’ll be turning the screws even harder. So I expect twice as many next year.

In total contrast to what people may think, I have the world of respect for (businessman and social activist)] Kirk Waithe, who has attacked me for (what he apparently worries might be the militarisation of the police force).

I think he has the interests of the country at heart and is just trying to make sure that checks and balances are in place. Kirk Waithe could be an asset towards my intention to clean up this country.

My Sandhurst comrade Raffique Shah has attacked me.

But at least I’m using my military training to try to help the country, not to overthrow it.

The camouflage matter was blown totally out of proportion.

Another unit used camouflage for 22 years. I’m not saying that makes it right, but there was a precedent. One point three million people did not see it as an issue.

The five persons who did had access to the media and continued to pump it. In hindsight, if it hurt those five people so much – and one of those people is BC Pires – I could have held it back for a month.

I have no problem with people who criticise me in a classy manner.

But social media has provided (People’s National Movement) red and (UNC) yellow sycophants with an avenue.

People try to call me a puppet – but this puppet stood firm against (the) government (in which he was a Cabinet minister) against (the programme associated with alleged corruption) Life Sport.

That probably caused him to get fired.

This puppet said state contracts shouldn’t be given to gangs. This puppet was bold enough to clear (controversial parliamentary revelations by now Prime Minister Keith Rowley) E-mailgate and (controversial accusations against then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar) Plant-like-substance-gate.

So who am I a puppet to?

Well, I am a puppet – but to my God.

People want change, they want the country to become better – but it mustn’t affect them personally.

Don’t come and tell me I can’t drive intoxicated. Why you picking on us? Is because we are the One Per Cent! Why you only arresting us? Is because we are the little black boys!

Go after everybody else but don’t harass me, my people, my race, my community.

Gangs aren’t even involved in robberies much any more, because they’re getting easy money from the State. If you have two pothounds – and I refer to gang members as pothounds – in fact, I take that back: pothounds are very nice animals – if you give two pothounds two plates of food, they’re good.

But if you take away one plate of food, they start attacking one another in the cage!

So be it! The majority – almost 90 per cent – of our homicides involve people engaged in questionable activity.

As much as the lady in the towel cries, “He was a good boy, police too wicked!”

I called gang leaders, “cockroaches” and people were upset, so I wish to apologise: gang leaders are not cockroaches.

Because cockroaches will get into your food, but they do not deliberately try to harm you.

A gang leader is worse than a cockroach.

So I wish to apologise…to the cockroaches!

I might lose some fans with this statement, but I have NEVER eaten doubles in my life.

One day I’ll try to understand why 20 people would stand up in front a wooden box on Sunday morning with curried channa running down their mouth because they just have to eat two more. I just don’t get it.

A Trini is a citizen of the greatest country in the world. Simple as that.

What TT means to me is this: I plan to live for my country.

But I am prepared to die for it.

Read the full version of this feature on Wednesday at www.BCPires.com

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