Is Gary Griffith the new  …”JUDGE AND JURY?”

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THE EDITOR: Whenever someone in authority expresses their desire to subvert legislative or judicial proceedings in carrying out their function, there must be concern by the public on where this could lead.

Such is the case with the Commissioner of Police who has announced his intention to take administrative action on “rogue” police elements based entirely on his own intuition.

While we cannot deny that there are indeed persons within the police force who abuse their roles and power for their own benefit, the channels which have been put in place to deal with such issues are there purposefully to ensure that there is transparency and accountability.

As despite any noble intentions Captain Gary Griffith may have, this type of action sets a precedence that may very well be abused by either himself or his successor at  later date.

As someone who touts his military background as a merit for his appointment as Commissioner of Police, this would be the appropriate time to demonstrate the benefits.

Instead of giving himself sole responsibility in deliberating over these matters, he should instead be attempting to create a tribunal within the Police Service to quickly deal with these matters.

Similar to the Court Marshall of military personnel, any officer accused with a felony can plead their case before this tribunal, as which time it can be decided whether they should face prosecution or termination of their employment based on their actions. This would not only put an end to the lengthy suspension periods which Captain Griffith is wary of, but it would also be a deterrent to those rogue elements who may have previously thought themselves to be immune from repercussions.

I have never supported or agreed with the decision to install Gary Griffith as Commissioner of Police, and it is decisions such as these that validate those trepidations.

While the crime situation requires urgent attention and action, the cost of returning the country to a safe and secure state must not exceed that which we are already relegating to the criminal element.

The reason that so many “criminals” in Trinidad and Tobago are protected by law abiding citizens is due entirely to the fact that crime is systemic and is a direct response to the poverty and unemployment that so many face.

As such, a war between the police and the impoverished is not a solution that should be considered when alternatives are still viable. But that seems inevitable if Commissioner Griffith continues down the path he is now on.

Best regards,

Ravi Maharaj

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