EMBATTLED acting Police Commissioner Gary Griffith on Tuesday dismissed claims by National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds that he is now a civilian after the Police Service Commission (PSC) ordered him not return to duty.
In an Express article, Hinds is quoted saying that Griffith was now "a civilian with no power."
In response, Griffith told Newsday: "Unfortunately the minister is wrong. Again, he does not understand the difference between a substantive acting CoP who is appointed by the PSC, to one who is acting CoP in the absence of the appointed one."
He added: "For example, when Stephen Williams was the appointed acting, if he went abroad, he was not demoted to be a DCP but someone acted in his absence. A child could understand this."
Griffith was appointed to act in August, but was told not to return to work by the PSC. He threatened to sue if it did not rescind its position and on Monday followed through on the promise and filed his lawsuit, which was heard on Tuesday.
That court matter was adjourned to next Monday.
In the interim, the PSC extended the acting CoP role of deputy commissioner Mc Donald Jacob. The police public relations department said Jacob, who who was first appointed by the PSC to act as top cop until September 21, will continue to do so until October 15.
If Griffith wins his court matter, Jacob will revert to his substantive position while Griffith will resume his position of acting commissioner until one is appointed.
Griffith’s three-year-term ended on August 17 and was appointed acting commissioner from August 18. He applied for, and was granted two weeks' leave no-pay leave, ending September 20. He told Newsday on September 7 that he applied for the leave at least two months in advance and it was granted for the period outside his contract.
On Monday Griffith accused senior police officers and government officials of being part of a conspiracy to get him out of office. He added that the conspiracy may extend to his facing trumped-up criminal charges.
This conspiracy accusation is not new as Griffith previously accused members of the media and criminal elements of being in cahoots to oust him as commissioner.
The process to select a police commissioner hit a snag when rejected candidate Snr Supt Anand Ramesar was granted an injunction two weeks ago, stopping it until October 28. Ramesar wants the appointment to be deferred until the determination of his appeal against the PSC's rejection of him as a candidate. The case will be heard in January.
The PSC's decision not to allow Griffith to resume his duties came after the National Security Council (NSC) – chaired by the Prime Minister – appointed retired Rear Admiral Hayden Pritchard and retired Snr Supt Arthur Barrington to investigate claims of mismanagement in the issuing of firearm user's licences (FULs). The recommendation from that investigation "could not be ignored", Hinds told the Senate last Friday.
After that investigation, a report was sent to Dr Rowley and a copy was sent to the PSC, which later appointed retired judge Stanley John to also investigate allegations of impropriety in the granting of FULs.