THE EDITOR: I confess that I am a fan of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith. When I said in Parliament that I pray for the commissioner, I was not “kicksing.”
More than a year before his appointment, I had sat next to him and his wife, the charming Nicole, at Wayne Chance’s function for graduating prison inmates of the pre-release programme and I had told him then that I expected him to get the position. He had smiled that enigmatic smile.
I am convinced the commissioner is committed to his job of leading the men and women who must protect and serve the citizenry and he wants to do it well to make and keep us safe.
I empathise with the commissioner’s recently-expressed frustration and exasperation at the response given to the person who called the domestic violence hotline.
I note his advice to the public to call 999 instead, for an immediate response. The inescapable inference is that a call to 999 would produce the desired result. My experience with calling 999 is instructive.
On January 21, at approximately 8.35 am, I observed a young man walking along Park Street in the vicinity of the Lapeyrouse Cemetery. Not only his arms were swinging. He was stark naked. I immediately called 999. My call was answered promptly.
I reported my observation and expressed concern that the man was walking towards Sacred Heart Girls RC School. I was asked if I cared to give my name. I did, and, for good measure, added “senator.”
At 1.15 pm, almost five hours later, I received a call from the police. They wanted to know if the man was still there. I could not believe my ears. I said I was now sitting in my office and asked if I was expected to know if that man was still walking along Park Street.
I reminded the officer that it was since after 8 am I had made that call. I asked if my report was only “now being investigated.” The officer told me that a patrol car had passed. I asked the reason for his calling me at that time. He said another person had called after I had made my call. I did not consider his response logical, so I was not convinced.
Mr Commissioner, may I have another number to call the next time? Meanwhile, I will continue to pray for you and your officers to exercise what my Lord Abbott Pereira termed the “good zeal” displayed by St Paul after his conversion, rather than the negative zeal St Paul had exhibited when he was “Saul.” The “good zeal” will be the impetus to transform our society.
Mr Commissioner, I believe you can fulfil your mission with God’s grace and guidance and the co-operation of dedicated officers, the Government and citizens.