Griffith says PM passing blame onto Opposition; calls Erla “incompetent”

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Griffith says PM passing blame onto Opposition; calls Erla “incompetent”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been accused of passing the blame onto the Opposition United National Congress, for his failure to implement the 82 recommendations in the 2017 T&T Police Service Manpower Audit Report.

This from former Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister said all 41 Members of Parliament need to agree on constitutional reform to establish a police inspectorate, as well as reform the TTPS and Police Service Commission (PolSC), which were among the audit’s recommendations.

However, Griffith says Rowley’s position is a “cop out”.

In a GML interview, Griffith agreed on the need for a police inspectorate and reform of the PolSC, he described the over 600-page report as “laughable”. However, he said when he received the report from the committee chaired by criminologist Professor Ramesh Deosaran, he established a committee to review it. But when his contract expired, the committee was disbanded.

Griffith noted though, that the report was redundant and convoluted. He said the TTPS was transformed during his tenure from 2018-2021 and heading in the right direction but that progress was undone because of Rowley’s “bitterness and hatred for Gary Griffith”.

He said the PolSC needs to be reformed urgently, as individuals he considers to be unqualified are selecting this country’s CoP.

“It is like somebody who has never played football becomes the coach for Manchester United, but you can’t put civilians with no qualification, training, knowledge or experience in law enforcement to measure the performance of a commissioner of police or to even select her,” he said.

Griffith also said CoP Erla Harewood-Christopher is incompetent and incapable of effecting meaningful change within the TTPS in line with the recommendations of the report. However, he said it was not her fault.

“Judith Jones and company imposed Erla Christopher on us, so she does not have the capability to inspire the type of confidence, lifting morale. You need a police commissioner who would lead by example, who is willing to go out there in the frontline and willing to take a bullet,” he said.

“Leadership is one where you are prepared to do every single thing that you try to delegate persons to do themselves, so that that leadership by example is what will instil confidence, not walking around with a cane in Calypso Fiesta semifinals to get a photo-op.”

“Erla Christopher, either based on her failure to understand technology or being instructed to do so, you can’t transform the police service. All the manpower audit documents is not going to change it. It has to come from within. You must have that ability to lead and it’s either you have it or you don’t. She doesn’t,” Griffith added.