Griffith: NTA also promised to arm police, prison officers last month

National Transformation Alliance leader Gary Griffith. - File photo by Ayanna Kinsale
National Transformation Alliance leader Gary Griffith. - File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

NATIONAL Transformation Alliance (NTA) leader Gary Griffith says UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar seems keen on relaying his crime-fighting ideas – such as arming the protective services with licensed guns while off duty, paid for by the State.

Persad-Bissessar made her promise on Monday night at the unveiling of the Star Team – a slate she endorsed for the UNC’s internal elections on June 15.

Griffith said he found it “interesting” the media widely reported on her election promise, as opposed to his, after he vowed to do the same and more at an NTA meeting on April 24.

“The reason why firearms must be given to law-abiding citizens is because of the State’s inability to protect you. The day that we can protect you, then there’ll be no giving you firearms,” he told supporters, adding, “The priority to the 20,000 law-enforcement officials in this country, the police officers, the prisons officers, the sailors, the members of the air guard, customs – you would be priority.”

Newsday spoke with Griffith on May 28.

“Exactly what she said yesterday (Monday) was exactly what I said a month ago and ignored. It seems some political leaders are more equal than others,” he said, referring to the media coverage.

“Granted she’s the Leader of the Opposition, she’s a political leader just like me. She then copied what I said word for word, and now it becomes a newspaper article.”

Persad-Bissessar previously said in a media release on January 23 that a UNC government would provide gun licences and firearms to the protective services should the Government fail to do so.

Newsday asked Griffith if he planned to engage with a new UNC executive if elected.

Griffith said he had no opinion on the UNC’s internal elections and talks to unite the two parties had hit a dead end.

“The political leader has not communicated with me within the last three months.”

Griffith said his last interaction with Persad-Bissessar was when he responded to her comments on a UNC platform that third parties they must “bring something to the table” and “carry their weight” to join forces.

“That is where I sent a reminder that what we did was cause a 60,000 (vote) defeat over the PNM (in the local government elections).

“I really do not know if there’s an intention for a continuation of the alliance, because there’s been no communication over the last few months.”

He said the UNC’s internal election is not the NTA’s business, but hopes the winning executive respects his party and the value of an alliance.

“We’re not here to pick sides or (voice) who should and who should not win.

"What I would say, however, is that (we hope) whoever takes the (national executive)...they understand the significance of the bridge constituency.

“Unfortunately, some people believe this can easily be a two-horse race and the UNC can win alone,” Griffith said, noting that that was achieved once in the party’s history.

“And that lasted a few months.

“And every time they respected that bridge constituency and a strategic alliance was formed, it spelled automatic defeat for the PNM.”

Griffith said the alliance worked in the last local government elections, with NTA supporters propelling the UNC in PNM strongholds that the NTA did not contest.

“(We hope) whoever becomes the natex will understand the importance of the bridge constituency and not try to disrespect us or feel we are insignificant. When you disregard us, that means you do not understand politics in TT."


"Griffith: NTA also promised to arm police, prison officers last month"

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