Special Branch uncovers plot to kill CoP, family

Two no­to­ri­ous crim­i­nal gangs want Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith and his fam­i­ly dead.

And the ne­far­i­ous el­e­ments are will­ing to pay top dol­lar to hired con­tract killers to si­lence the CoP and his close fam­i­ly mem­bers for good.

The sin­is­ter plot was un­earthed by Spe­cial Branch po­lice of­fi­cers who com­piled an 11-page top-se­cret re­port as­sess­ing the threat against Grif­fith and his fam­i­ly in No­vem­ber last year.

Page 10 of the re­port sur­mis­es how se­ri­ous the threat could be, stat­ing, “Re­cent in­for­ma­tion has fur­ther sug­gest­ed a pos­si­ble boun­ty that has been placed on the head of the CoP with part pay­ment in ad­vance and the rest when the job has been com­plet­ed. These ro­bust ap­proach­es com­bined with new ini­tia­tives that are to be un­veiled short­ly have made the CoP the most high-risk in­di­vid­ual in our na­tion.”

Guardian Me­dia ob­tained the con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ment from top in­tel­li­gence sources and con­tact­ed Grif­fith ear­ly last week to not on­ly val­i­date the au­then­tic­i­ty of the doc­u­ment but al­so to ques­tion him about the per­ceived threats.

Grif­fith was hes­i­tant at first to meet to dis­cuss the se­cret re­port be­cause of ob­vi­ous se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns. How­ev­er, last Thurs­day he agreed to ad­dress some of the trou­bling con­cerns raised in the re­port.

Ques­tioned about him be­ing marked for death, he re­spond­ed, “Well, it is a con­fi­den­tial re­port but I would not de­ny the fact that in­for­ma­tion has come to my at­ten­tion that there are crim­i­nal el­e­ments that are ob­vi­ous­ly up­set about what has been hap­pen­ing over the last few months with hun­dreds of mil­lions in drugs be­ing seized, per­sons ar­rest­ed.

“Ob­vi­ous­ly, my job is to crip­ple the busi­ness, crip­ple the in­dus­try and if it is go­ing to af­fect per­sons well then so be it. I am not in any way pre­pared to change my stance.”

While Spe­cial Branch is tasked with en­sur­ing the high­est lev­el of se­cu­ri­ty for the prime min­is­ter and pres­i­dent, their in­ves­ti­ga­tions seem to sug­gest that the threat lev­el has nev­er been so high for any CoP and his fam­i­ly in the past.

The top-se­cret re­port was com­plet­ed on No­vem­ber 26 last year by an act­ing in­spec­tor (name with­held) and sub­mit­ted to the Head of Spe­cial Branch. This threat as­sess­ment, sources say, was trig­gered by a se­ries of tele­phone threats made to Grif­fith via the po­lice Com­mand Cen­tre. While a large ma­jor­i­ty of these calls were deemed a nui­sance, what law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties un­earthed was pro­found­ly more dis­turb­ing and life-threat­en­ing, Grif­fith con­firmed.

“I ac­tu­al­ly heard there have been sev­er­al threats and we are not speak­ing about the sit­u­a­tions where per­sons con­tact­ed 999 and made these prank calls or idle threats. What we are speak­ing about is or­gan­ised crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ty ob­vi­ous­ly, as I stat­ed their busi­ness is be­ing af­fect­ed. The re­ports say they have sev­er­al planned at­tempts on me, one is ac­tu­al­ly a two mil­lion dol­lar hit. I was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed, I thought I was worth a lit­tle more than that,” Grif­fith said.

He con­tin­ued: “But yes there is ob­vi­ous­ly a clear and present dan­ger. I am not in any way con­cerned and I know ex­act­ly what is to be done. The point is Mark, is if I did not get these threats and these con­cerns did not take place I would be con­cerned, that is when I will be con­cerned be­cause it means I am not do­ing my job.

“The fact that this is pop­ping up it means I am hurt­ing the right peo­ple and when I say hurt these peo­ple I mean af­fect­ing their busi­ness, af­fect­ing their trade and peg­ging them back.”

In as­sess­ing the threat ca­pa­bil­i­ty, Spe­cial Branch fin­gered spe­cif­ic gangs that were quite pre­pared to wipe out Grif­fith. The re­port said, “In­for­ma­tion gath­ered dur­ing this as­sess­ment in­di­cates that el­e­ments with­in Ras­ta City and Mus­lim gang crim­i­nal net­works may be linked to some of these threats with their re­spec­tive mem­bers pos­sess­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ty to con­duct such at­tacks.”

But Spe­cial Branch in­di­cat­ed in the re­port that they did not think the gangs had the abil­i­ty on their own to car­ry out the threats.

Al­though the gangs ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing out the at­tacks on Grif­fith and his fam­i­ly were named in the re­port, Grif­fith steered clear of nam­ing any ne­far­i­ous gangs con­nect­ed to the plot to Guardian Me­dia.

“I would not be able to pin­point who the in­di­vid­u­als are or what unit or gangs they are from. It is a fact there are gangs, there would be in­di­vid­u­als and it is car­tel gang ac­tiv­i­ty. It is a thriv­ing busi­ness for them, my job is to dis­man­tle them and my job is to cut that fi­nan­cial cord and the busi­ness that they get in any form or fash­ion,” de­clared Grif­fith.

The re­port said Grif­fith’s ro­bust ap­proach to tack­ling crime makes him and his fam­i­ly the prime tar­get of crim­i­nals. But Grif­fith was guard­ed when ques­tioned about his fam­i­ly’s safe­ty.

“I’m def­i­nite­ly not go­ing to men­tion any­thing per­tain­ing to my fam­i­ly, that is con­fi­den­tial. The se­cu­ri­ty threats and se­cu­ri­ty con­cerns per­tain­ing to my­self is some­thing that the pub­lic should be aware of be­cause I am a per­son in pub­lic life as the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice. And if there is in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to threats or se­cu­ri­ty mat­ters about my­self, there are things the pub­lic can and can­not know as it per­tains to my fam­i­ly. I will not be in a po­si­tion to state any­thing. What I can state I know, what needs to be done and it is be­ing done!” said Grif­fith.

De­spite the threat to him­self and his fam­i­ly, Grif­fith in­sist­ed his men­tal and psy­cho­log­i­cal re­solve has not been shak­en.

“I am do­ing what is need­ed to be done. I am not mak­ing any fool­ish and reck­less de­ci­sions. I am not go­ing to shirk my re­spon­si­bil­i­ty be­cause of any con­cern per­tain­ing to my safe­ty and well be­ing,” he said.

“Some­body has to push the en­ve­lope and I will con­tin­ue to ask the pub­lic, I do not want them to take this fight. I will take the fight and the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) are all be­hind me and they are tak­ing this fight. This is a war out there.”

How­ev­er, he said he had tak­en sev­er­al per­son­al se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures apart from his team’s se­cu­ri­ty blan­ket and he will con­tin­ue to keep the crim­i­nals guess­ing.

The re­port al­so sug­gest­ed beef­ing up se­cu­ri­ty mea­sures at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Port-of-Spain to en­sure the fur­ther safe­ty of the CoP. At the end of the re­port, Spe­cial Branch made nine rec­om­men­da­tions to bol­ster the safe­ty of Grif­fith and his fam­i­ly.

PAST THREATS TO CoP GRIF­FITH:

On No­vem­ber 18, 2018, at 8.25 pm an E999 op­er­a­tor re­ceived a call from a Bmo­bile num­ber from a male voice that said: "We are com­ing to kill Gary Grif­fith." A mi­nor was ar­rest­ed.

On No­vem­ber 21, 2018, at 1.30 am caller threat­ened CoP Grif­fith and his wife, Nicole Dy­er-Grif­fith. A 35-year-old man from Gas­par­il­lo was ar­rest­ed.

On No­vem­ber 22, 2018, at 11.12 pm, the third call was re­ceived by an E999 op­er­a­tor. A 33-year-old man from El So­cor­ro ar­rest­ed.

On No­vem­ber 23, 2018, a fourth death threat made at 7.24 pm. That same date a call came in at 7.25 pm where a threat was made against the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar.

On No­vem­ber 24, 2018, at 2.50 pm threats were made against Grif­fith and Op­po­si­tion Leader Per­sad-Bisses­sar. This was the fifth death threat in six days. Three per­sons were ar­rest­ed, in­clud­ing a 12-year-old boy.

Reporter: Mark Bassant

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