Former Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has misled the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament
In a statement to social media on Friday, Griffith said Rowley made a false claim in the House, as it pertains to the status of interception by the State.
Griffith said “There are several witnesses to the negotiation for the cited equipment both inside the SSA and the TTPS. To begin with, I repeat, we do not have Pegasus in Trinidad and Tobago. The prime minister does not even know the name of the equipment he’s speaking about. ”
“Additionally, no such equipment can be purchased without the knowledge and approval of the Minister of National Security and the Head of the National Security Council.”
Griffith added, “No one ever took anything away from the police service nor did anyone buy any piece of equipment without authority. In fact, I have documentary evidence of communications between the then Minister of National Security and myself on the acquisition of the equipment as well as on how it should be used.
The TTPS and the SSA had joint discussions on the intercept equipment. Both organizations felt that the equipment could be misused if it ended up in the wrong hands.”
He noted that as a result, “An agreement was made that allowed both organizations to serve as check and balance on each other. The equipment was essentially split in two which forced the SSA to have to inform the TTPS when they needed to use the equipment and vice versa. I also have a template as to how this arrangement was to be operationalized.”
“This procedure is what probably saved many citizens in this country from violation of their privacy and rights, as when the Minister of National Security was changed the *new Minister was pressuring me as Commissioner of Police to place a Constable in charge of the department where the TTPS’ part of the equipment was housed. This pressure by the Minister only further convinced me that SSA must be part of the process.*
It should be noted that this type of equipment is designed to be used to monitor terrorist organizations and gangs.
Griffith pointed out, “In the wrong hands, however, it can be a weapon against ordinary citizens. I was determined that the latter would not occur under my watch.”
The former CoP said, “As usual Prime Minister Rowley cannot separate National Security from politics. Nothing happened as he described, it’s an entire fantasy. His complete statement starting with the name of the equipment is a *matter of fiction.*