Former Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said he was forced as Commissioner to “put Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in his place” because Rowley kept “interfering.”
Griffith indicated this in an interview on Wednesday with Inshan Ishmael. Griffith was asked when exactly he started to feel a level of discomfort with the Prime Minister.
Griffith said, “Well, I constantly realised the Prime Minister was not aware or was very green in understanding his role and function as chair of the National Security Council because he kept getting involved in things that were outside of his authority.”
Griffith said, “Somebody, who was probably too ‘young at heart’ to understand the concept of what a Prime Minister has to do in National Security or another Minister who was ‘lacking hindsight.”
“These individuals continued to give the Prime Minister wrong advice as he felt as head of the NSC ‘I could intervene, I could interfere, I could direct’,’ he added
Griffith referred to statements by the Prime Minister from platforms such as when he said he was “going to bring people from foreign to probe the DSS or probing firearms.”
Griffith alluded to a Special Branch officer “whose job was to collect suitcases at New York airport for six years.” He also cited the appointment of retired justice Stanley John whose report he said went to the NSC.
“He (PM) kept interfering and with that, I as Commissioner was forced to put him in his place.“
Detailing reasons, Griffith said with the Bayside Towers pool party protocol breach issue, basically, Rowley was alluding to “trying to inform TTPS officers to break the law“ when they lacked the authority to arrest people in their homes.
He said there was an Attorney General and National Security Minister who didn’t brief the Prime Minister to understand that for the police to enter homes, “You must have a State of Emergency similar to 2011.”
He said if he hadn’t spoken out many police officers might have thought Rowley was right and there would have been hundreds of millions in legal damages that taxpayers would have had to pay. He said in doing so (speaking out), the Prime Minister took offence to that, “But that’s your problem,” Griffith added.
On people advising him to have respect, Griffith said he’d said worse things about Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar when the UNC didn’t want to approve the Bail Bill, “What you trying to tell me – as a Commissioner, you can criticise the Opposition Leader but not the Prime Minister?!”
He said over 20 US police chiefs criticised former US President Donald Trump telling him to shut up.
“But this is a banana republic: ‘I’m a PNM supporter and you must speak well of my prime minister,” Griffith said sarcastically, imitating detractors.
“It doesn’t work that way. I was an independent CoP and I wasn’t going to have anyone direct me wrongfully.”