Griffith alleges 'race baiting' by Rowley

Gary Griffith -
Gary Griffith -

NTA leader Gary Griffith in a statement on Friday condemned the Prime Minister's remarks to a PNM rally in St James on Thursday as alleged race-baiting.

Rowley warned against gun proliferation which he alleged has funded a well-oiled criminal enterprise. "That they are going to give people of a certain race to shoot people of another race, because they are saying the crime in this country which we know is across the board is one race attacking another race."

Griffith, a former police commissioner, said Rowley's remarks had taken TT into "perilous waters."

"We must now take note of the Prime Minister of a country virtually race-baiting and inciting those who may fall prey to his inflammatory language."

He accused Rowley of "throwing everything at an opponent, and hoping something will stick."

Griffith said the PM had referred to "contrived reports, being rubbished in and out of court."

He alleged PNM supporters started loudly protesting at Rowley's remarks in the St James meeting.

"What did present itself at that meeting, however, is a man that will stop at nothing to ensure his modus operandi of divide and conquer must continue by any means necessary, even if it means inciting virtual racial tensions and racial divisions."

Griffith alleged , "His desperation to remain in office, by any means necessary, became evident to the extent that this inflammatory language can be construed as a direct threat to the security of the citizens of this country.

"I condemn this behaviour and language in the strongest possible terms."

Griffith called on the Council for Responsible Political Behaviour to act on this "inflammatory, disdainful and disturbing language."

He called on religious organisations and the business community to call the Prime Minister to account.

"Regardless of your political affiliation, each of you are acutely aware of the consequences of such irresponsible and reckless verbiage on the psyche of the nation, and such whistle calls must be condemned in the most robust manner."

Griffith elaborated in a TV6 interview on Friday.

"It was classless the Prime Minister would try to say we would provide firearms for one race and not another, and that is deliberately to cause division in the country."

Mentioning Rowley's reference to the Stanley John report, Griffith said the report had unfairly embarrassed the police service, as two years later not one person had been questioned on it, on any sort of white-collar crime. "So it was all a lie."

Griffith suggested Rowley feared him politically. "If we were insignificant he wouldn't spend 47 minutes out of 55 dealing with it, and then bringing up all sorts of different nonsense, speaking about we are giving firearms to everyone."

Griffith countered Rowley's concerns by saying under his tenure as CoP firearms were permitted to just 0.15 per cent of the population, half this figure being law enforcement officials. He alleged hypocrisy by Rowley, who he alleged had been harassing him for a dealer's permit for someone in Tobago and lobbying to build a firearms range in Tobago, while now saying he opposed firearms proliferation.

Griffith said PNM supporters on Thursday started attacking Rowley for not talking on the issues.

He said Rowley was concerned about a political showdown with him.

"He is concerned that if this becomes a 'Gary versus Rowley' showdown in the (East-West) Corridor, he is going to lose."
Griffith said in its pact with the UNC, the NTA would contest corporations including Diego Martin, Port of Spain, San Juan/Laventille, Arima and Point Fortin, with the UNC vying mainly in South and Central Trinidad.

Griffith said a coalition would be a guard against democratic dictatorship, as he alleged several Cabinet ministers told him they cannot speak freely under the PNM leadership. He invited other political parties to join the coalition. His message to voters was not to lose their sense of belief that TT could be better.

Also on Friday, the UNC said in a statement, "We warned you. Rowley played the tired race card, again."

PEP leader Phillip Edward Alexander chided, "The local government election has been hijacked by Keith Rowley and Gary Griffith to continue their public feud, and the media needs to stop encouraging this."


"Griffith alleges ‘race baiting’ by Rowley"

More in this section