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Acting Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith holds up a document during yeterday’s press conference at Police Administration Building, Corner Edward and Sackville Streets, Port-of-Spain.

Corporate Communications Manager at the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Francis Joseph was among a group of 40 employees who had their contracts terminated with immediate effect yesterday.

This was confirmed to Guardian Media by Joseph.

Joseph, a well-known journalist who covered the crime and court beat for decades, said he was called to a meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob and informed that he was terminating his contract immediately.

“Other persons who were hired by former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith over the last three years also had their contracts terminated today (Monday),” Joseph said.

Joseph’s name was among a list of names mentioned in a purportedly leaked unedited version of an Express article. The alleged unedited version of the article went viral on social media on Sunday.

Another name on the list was Paul Nahous, who confirmed that he too was fired. He expressed disappointment that the valuable contributions he made to the TTPS were cut short.

When asked if he felt the termination came as a result of the alleged leaked article, Nahous replied: “So to me this is not as a result of the article. The article seems to be a result of this was coming, and in my view, the article came after the decision was made. Because Mr Jacob and the executive will not sit at 8 in the morning and then decide at 10 am to call 40 people to fire them. I’ve worked with Mr Jacob, and he is in my view a reasonable person, who would have thought through every decision. So to me, this was something that was decided prior to the printing of the article.”

The article claimed people were hired by Griffith during his term in office as Commissioner of Police and listed their alleged “exorbitant” salaries.

In the leaked messages it was alleged that names were left out in the edited and published piece on Sunday.

On Sunday, Griffith responded to the published article saying he was not surprised by the story.

On Monday, Griffith again took to social media to defend the expertise and qualifications of the individuals he hired, saying they helped to transform the police service.

Hours after they were terminated, he labelled the dismissals, “blatant political interference in the running of the TTPS.”

“If at any time our nation has seen deliberate political interference in the running of the Police Service, it is today.

On the heels of an announcement about reviewing of contracts at the TTPS, by the line Minister, during a parliamentary debate, and a hit-piece in yesterday’s Sunday Express newspapers, every single right-thinking citizen should be very concerned that the hierarchy of the TTPS appears to have been pressured to take directives, to execute a well-orchestrated plan.”

He again defended the professionals he hired and said “ these individuals were at the heart of the remarkable numbers, and public sentiment turn around, that the TTPS has enjoyed in the past couple of years, under my watch.”

Griffith said that while an attempt will be made to describe the terminations as budgetary cuts, it is not as he said it was, “born out of petty vindictiveness, which is made even more glaring because individuals were fired on the spot, without the involvement of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Security, the person responsible for terminating contracts.”