Griffith: PSB officers violated rights of firearms dealer when they “abducted” him from Barbados

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Griffith: PSB officers violated rights of firearms dealer when they “abducted” him from Barbados

Former top cop and NTA political leader,Gary Griffith has asked whether there are rogue elements in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service being directed and protected by external elements.

He said this was one of the main takeaways from a court decision handed down by Justice Davindra Rampersad on Wednesday, which was highlighted in a newspaper article, in a case involving firearms dealer Brent Thomas, who was “abducted from another country by members of the TTPS.

Griffith said: “Not only did PSB officers, who are some of the most highly trained, violate Thomas’ rights when they “abducted” him from Barbados, they did so with the aid of a TT Defence Force plane, and the Barbados Police Service, potentially making this an international crime with diplomatic and logistical implications, that has to be way above the pay-grade of the senior police officer who executed the crime against Thomas.

So incensed by the officer’s actions in the case, Justice Rampersad said, “That those who were involved on the day, have not faced sanctions for their clarity, and admittedly, unlawful acts as police officers, as far as this court has been informed, and that they have been able to continue in their offices without investigation is, to my mind, a shameful blot on this country.”

The officer’s named in the judges ruling, as well as certain other junior officers, who have been very instrumental in the witch-hunt investigations, are reported to have been actually overstepping the authority of senior officers, suggesting that they were answering to those who they deemed had even more authority than their seniors.

Rampersad also ruled that the warrants that members of the TTPS acquired were “unlawfully obtained”, and he ordered that his ruling be sent to the Justice of the Peace Association, and the Commissioner of Police, to ascertain what information is required, on oath, for the procurement of the search warrants by officers.

Linking the Stanley John report into the issuance of firearms, to the illegal actions perpetrated against Thomas, the judge said “One gets the impression from the one-pointed focus that the senior officer had on these claimants that he was determined to find something which could incriminate the claimants notwithstanding the documentary evidence before him.”

*Perhaps exposing a wider plot and the real basis for the actions, Rampersad also said “the clear objective of pummelling and humiliating the first claimant with search warrant after search warrant and the September arrest and the October abduction [was] all to obviously bring him to his knees.”*

Griffith, in his statement, said: “There are confirmed reports that a very junior female police officer led investigations on site at the premises of firearms dealers during audits, and that another junior officer was meeting with senior government officials at the Diplomatic Centre, which suggests these acts that have been revealed by the ruling, is not an indictment on the hardworking men and women of the TTPS, but of a handful of complicit officers who may have been induced with promises and assurances of being ‘covered’.”

He said “Given what was revealed by the ruling, the NTA is issuing a call for the immediate suspension of the police officers directly involved, for their unit to be disbanded, and for them to be investigated by the relevant investigative bodies, to ascertain if they were acting under orders from high and or if they were unduly pressured or influenced into committing these illegal acts against a civilian.

Griffith added that immediately after these investigations are launched, the involvement of the PCA as well as DPP’s input must be sought, to ensure transparency and to ensure that plea bargaining is an option, because these officers may not just be reprimanded, they may face criminal charges, so they must be given the opportunity to reveal if they were influenced or intimidated by any external elements to the Police Service.

He said, it should be noted that the officers’ actions align perfectly with the tone and tenor of actions by this Rowley led administration, which has engaged in an attack on legal firearms, which when looked at in its totality is designed to besmirch the name and stain the character of NTA Political Leader Gary Griffith, which after 2 years and tens upon tens of millions of taxpayers dollars, politically appointed audits, by politically appointed civilians, they have been unable to come up with anything because it is all an orchestrated plot aimed at smearing political opponents.

“We also call on the traditional media as well as those in social media to support our call for an investigation and to ask further hard questions such as:
How did the TTPS acquire a Defence Force Plane to go to Barbados?
* Was the Chief of Defence Staff aware and involved in the process for the acquisition and use of the Defence Force plane?
* What paperwork was used to enlist the aid of the Barbados Police Force in the detention and eventual handing over of Thomas?
* Were extradition papers used to acquire Thomas from the Barbadians, and if so are they public record and subject to a FOIA?
* Were other National Security agencies like the Immigration Division aware of and utilised when Thomas re-entered Trinidad and Tobago?
* What are the names of the Justices of Peace who gave the TTPS officers the “unlawful warrants”?
* Were any other senior TTPS personnel involved, and did they give any approvals for the actions of the officers?
* Have junior police officers, who were heavily involved in the audits of firearms dealers, been meeting with any senior government official or officials at the Diplomatic Centre and or at the Prime Minister’s residence, within the last 2 years, and if so what is the justification for these meetings?
* Given the use of the Defence Force plane and the involvement by a foreign government in the “abduction” of Thomas, were personnel from the Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs given prior notice of the actions, or did they have any direct involvement in the process?
Were the Ministers of National Security and the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of, gave approval, or participated in any other way, in the unlawful “abduction” of Mr. Thomas?
Was the Prime Minister as head of the National Security Council or in any other way, aware of or had any other involvement in the “abduction” of Mr Thomas?

He also asked: “Given the fact the the TT Government through its agencies of the TTPS and TTDF involved the Barbados Government in the “abduction” of Mr Thomas, would the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Security be making formal contact to explain this potentially explosive diplomatic blunder with our CARICOM regional brother?”

“These questions will no doubt lead to further questions, and if citizens think this doesn’t affect them, and this is about a firearms dealer, it is not, as this government has repeatedly used what is supposed to be independent state agencies to do their bidding. From the merit list fiasco, to the Nelson matter, to attempts to attack the DPP, to a recent ruling by the court describing the PM’s actions as “irrational” with regards to laying a report in Parliament, the issue is clear for all who want to see. ”