Police Commissioner Gary Griffith yesterday defended his decision to appear on stage during Buju Banton’s “I am Legend Concert” stating if he had not done so it would have resulted in a strained relationship between T&T and Jamaica.
Griffith’s comments came hours after he was criticised on social media for appearing at Banton’s concert at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, stating that he was just looking for fame and to score points.
Griffith, however, in a WhatsApp message to the media on Monday, insisted that it was Banton who requested him on stage.
He criticised his detractors whom he described as immature and ignorant, insisting that he would not please individuals who are jealous or have tunnel vision, but rather those who are patriotic, possess humility and responsibility and would put country first.
On Saturday, the Jamaican’s reggae star room at the Hilton Trinidad room was searched by members of the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit (OCIU).
In response, Banton questioned the validity of the search after the police left empty-handed.
This incident, Griffith said “was set to cause a major rift between our country and Jamaica. This was because of a poor procedure by the TTPS in the conduct of the search. Hence the TTPS may have been directly responsible for such a rift,” Griffith stated.
Griffith has since announced a major overhaul of the OCIU following the raid.
He said the officers did not carry out proper surveillance before acting.
Hours after the incident, Griffith met with the reggae singer where he apologised and gave the assurance that the remainder of Banton’s visit will be peaceful and incident-free.
During the concert, Griffith promised Banton that T&T and Jamaica would remain “allies forever.”
Griffith also advised those who were more concerned about national popularity to put their energies where it can be better valued.
“Had I not done this, relations between both countries could have been severely affected.
“Possible boycotts of our products and other private sector sanctions were also on the table. If others are not aware or care about this due to ego over common sense, I cannot help that.”
If his actions affected some people but helped to bridge the gap between the two Caribbean countries, Griffith said he felt sorry for them.
“I did what was needed to be done. Not to please those who have nothing better to do other than criticise due to their inability to understand the bigger picture.
“If others are upset, then they should report it to the entertainment police.”
- Shaliza Hassanali. Photo by Edison Boodoosingh.