Gary Griffith: Send the CoP merit list to Parliament

Gary Griffith - Photo by Sureash Cholai
Gary Griffith - Photo by Sureash Cholai

FORMER Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said the former Police Service Commission (PSC) must not get a “cattle boil” for giving the President a completed merit list for the post of Police Commissioner and then taking it back.

In local parlance, a “cattle boil” or “cata/kata boil” is a swelling, usually under the eye, that someone gets after the offer something freely and then reneges on the gift.

Griffith was referring to the mishandling of the completed merit list for the position of police commissioner which President Paula Mae Weekes said she received but was rescinded soon after.

In her statement on the issue, the President said: “I confirm that an Order of Merit List in respect of the Commissioner of Police was delivered on August 11, 2021 to the Office of The President (OPT) and withdrawn almost immediately thereafter that day. I therefore had no list from which a Notification could issue. To date no other list has since been submitted. The OTP has been advised that 'the recruitment and selection process for the Office of Commissioner of Police has not yet been completed.'"

Griffith told Newsday on Sunday, “The fact of the matter is that the PSC did what was required at that time and the merit list was delivered to Her Excellency, the President. The President has no other choice, it is in the Constitution, she has no discretion, the only option she has when she received that merit list is to forward it to Parliament.”

“I also looked at the Constitution and there is nothing known as 'cata boil.' The Police Service Commission does not have the authority to 'cata boil' where it is you could give something to the President and then ask for it later on in the afternoon. There is no authority. Whatever is the reason that the ex-PSC chairman decided to do something like that, which she has no authority to do, that is her business and she will deal with that and answer that.”

Griffith, in a WhatsApp call, said former PSC chairman, Bliss Seepersad should have been chased after attempting to take back the merit list from the President’s Office. He said the list, legally, should not have been sent back but forwarded to Parliament.

He added that the Office of the President should have a copy of the list and given that the PSC completed their task of compiling a list, there was nothing again for them to do so the process, as far as the PSC was concerned, ended on August 11, when the list was submitted.

Griffith's three-year term of office as commissioner ended on August 16 and he was reappointed; an act which the High Court has since voided,

On Sunday, he said the e best thing now is for the completed list sent to the President on August 11, be forwarded to Parliament for debate so that the country can “exhale.”

“The country is waiting to exhale, I think this is the best way for us to deal with this situation. And, I’m stating this from an objective perspective and not personal...For the country to exhale, we need to have an appointed Commissioner of Police as soon as possible.”

“It is not about Gary Griffith, forget about me and my chances, I am just a simple candidate. I could be at the bottom or top that list or at the top, it is irrelevant. This is not about me but about our institutions. The fact of the matter is that institutions must do their job.”

Asked to comment on the Prime Minister saying that he lost confidence in him a year ago and wrote to the PSC to express that, Griffith said he will not respond.

Griffith's attorney Larry Lalla said he preferred not to comment on the letter until he saw it himself, adding that he felt Rowley's remarks were unfair and tarnished his client's character.

"He's being very unfair to Mr Griffith. It is very unfair for the Prime Minister to make a comment like that which obviously impugns the character of Mr Griffith in the eyes of the national community without informing the national community in what context he wrote the Police Service Commission, and whether Mr Griffith had any opportunity to defend himself in relation to those comments.

Last September, Griffith and Rowley disagreed over the police’s enforcement of the public health restrictions which led to the former top cop being invited to a meeting with Rowley, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and then National Security Minister Stuart Young at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Griffith later apologised to the Prime Minister.


"Gary Griffith: Send the CoP merit list to Parliament"

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