Former commissioner of police Gary Griffith and Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal blames the government for the mishandling of crime which has resulted in 100 more murders for the January-July 23, than for the same period last year.
In 2021, between January to July, TT recorded 206 murders. For the same period in 2022, the country recorded 307 murders.
Contacted for comment Moonilal said, “The government's gross incompetence is illustrated in its mishandling of the crime crisis. The leadership vacuum at the ministerial and police leadership levels, the absence of a strategy and examples of this ineptitude. The government is also driven by malice and spite instead of a will to improve the quality of citizens’ lives."
He described the situation as a “downward spiral accelerated by the Prime Minister’s illegal intervention in thwarting the express will of an independent Police Service Commission that resulted in an unprecedented leadership crisis in the police service.” He was referring the bungling of the merit-list last year after Gary Griffith was recommended as the top candidate for the post of commissioner of police. Griffith, who served for three years from 2018, has been illegally suspended and then disqualified after a High Court judge ruled on the legality of the legislation governing the appointment of a top cop.
The Prime Minister, who said he had lost confidence in Griffith, said he intervened as the Police Service Commission had completed the merit list and submitted it to President Paula-Mae Weekes last August after information came to him as chair of the National Security Council concerning the granting of firearm licences. The entire commission led by Bliss Seepersad resigned over the imbroglio and Jacob was appointed to act last December by a new commission chaired by retired judge Judith Jones.
In an interview, Griffith said the reduction in crime in 2020 and 2021 should be linked to covid19 restrictions. He too condemned the government for having a reactive response to crime and criminality.
“The people who continue to try to link the reason for the massive reduction in crime to covid19, they are totally clueless they have no and there's nothing you have to justify that.
“You are trying to say that a man would not want to kill or kidnap because he's afraid that he may get covid19. And you cannot use restriction of movement, because the majority of the violent crime has been taken place have been in broad daylight in this country.”
Griffith questioned why the government refused to continue with the effective blueprint of policies developed during his time as commissioner to keep crime under control.
He further accused the government of spitefully dismantling programmes set up by him and blames a lack of leadership in the police service for the spiralling crime.
“That is what has given criminals the product of opportunity. Criminals were fearful they would be apprehended, but the fear is no longer there. The minister and commissioner of police have not stated one policy to replace the hundreds of things they shut down.”
Jacob has maintained that several of the anti-crime measures put in place under Griffith's tenure remain active and are helpful in reducing crime.