[UPDATED] Griffith: Hinds cannot send me on leave

File photo: Gary Griffith
File photo: Gary Griffith

Acting Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith intends to report for duty next Tuesday after his vacation leave ends, and says the Minister of National Security does not have the authority to direct him to remain on leave.

In a telephone interview on Friday, Griffith said his employer, the Police Service Commission (PSC), was the only authority to give him such an order.

Legal sources said the PSC can send Griffith on leave only if there is a pending disciplinary matter. But even before initiating any disciplinary matter, the PSC will have to give Griffith an opportunity to be heard, in keeping with the rules of natural justice.

Griffith returned from overseas this week and told Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds he was ready to resume work as acting CoP.

Hinds instructed Griffith to remain on leave.

A message sent to Hinds seeking comment was not acknowledged.

Griffith said, "Unfortunately he is mistaken, because the Minister of National Security does not have the authority to instruct me to go on leave for obvious reasons. That authority falls solely with the PSC and the Minister of National Security cannot direct the PSC being an independent body."

Griffith said a Minister of National Security does not have the authority to send any police officer on leave, based on the law, and for obvious reasons, that a politician cannot direct the police in such a way. This has to be done by the PSC.

"The PSC is fully aware of their role and function where they cannot send someone on leave unless of course there is a disciplinary matter or there is some investigation that is taking place by relevant law enforcement authorities."

Griffith three-year term as CoP ended on August 17 and the PSC appointed him to act in the post until a substantive office-holder is appointed.

Griffith is among the top candidates interviewed by the PSC. But a High Court judge has stalled the process of forwarding the names to President Paula-Mae Weekes after a complaint by one applicant, Snr Supt Anand Ramesar, about the fairness of the process.

In addition, there was an enquiry initiated by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, over allegations of bribes and corruption in the granting of firearm user's licences under Griffith's tenure. The PSC subsequently appointed retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John to look into the allegations. The terms of reference of John's enquiry have not been made public.

On Thursday, Griffith issued his first public statement in the wake of published reports about the enquiries, claiming that they were fuelled by "detractors and defenders of criminal elements, both inside and outside the police service" in an attempt to affect the process of selecting a police commissioner.

He wrote: "The hatred and fear for (sic) my return by some is mind boggling, and they have put it as their mission to do all they can to prevent it. There is even a 'gundelero' who complains to others about persons getting too many firearms, including 5.56 ammunition, but they only voiced these concerns after they applied and acquired several firearms themselves, exposing their own hypocrisy because, they have multiple firearms and 5.56 ammunition."

He claimed "the last-ditch attempt" to discredit him has been to use a report to write a series of articles drawing on a confidential report which was not based on any facts.

Griffith said he was confident that at the end of the day the allegations would prove baseless, and believed he was the most suitable and competent candidate to be appointed CoP.

This story was originally published with the title Griffith ready to resume work but Hinds tells him to stay home and has been adjusted to include additional details.


"[UPDATED] Griffith: Hinds cannot send me on leave"

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