By FRED LIVERMORE
Two Sundays ago, the Sunday Express and other daily media reported that “an Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP) has been flagged by three financial institutions for close to $2 million in suspicious activity. The banks reported the transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit of T&T (FIU) following deposits into over 15 personal accounts belonging to the Acting Commissioner. The reported raid and search on the Express House by the alleged ACP have raised my questions of a constitutional and freedom nature.
It is said that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has launched an investigation into allegations that the acting Police Commissioner deposited close to $2 million in his personal bank accounts. Naturally, if the banks reported such information to the FIU, it is anticipated that an Acting Police Commissioner shall be informed by his close colleagues especially if they are his juniors and working at the FIU. But that figure may be insignificant as compared to what many of the nation’s politicians, lawyers, accountants, business class and bankers at different levels are doing, but will never be brought to justice and to the public domain.
Is this new?
This TTPS public disclosure has many top governmental officials backpedaling whilst publicly revealing what many knew that was existing and mushrooming in the TTPS “An insidious monstrous arm with versatile and ambidextrous arms and legs, parading in TTPS uniforms for more than four decades, abusing its power, consolidating its illegal gains, posing with leading politicians, operating in deft secrecy, fomenting discord in the TTPS, whilst compromising national security at all levels.”
That is one of the many reasons why despite all the “mouthed speeches and brass sounding zero-tolerance messages and all the political rhetoric threats and propaganda” Trinidad and Tobago will never attain any degree of decency or sustained improvement in its fight against crime. Why? Because crime allegedly exists in the very corridors of power, sustained, nurtured and promoted at all levels of the national security apparatus, with both the white and black collar levels flourishing. The only color missing is red and that is the nation’s blood spilled on the bodies and homes of murdered nationals.
It is reported that the PCA is also investigating police officers attached to the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) who allegedly may be involved. Does this report seem strange in an era of transnational organized crimes that has a parallel multibillion-dollar global industry, with oak-like roots in Trinidad and Tobago? Whilst that may be so, it was reported in the Trinidad Guardian that a Police raid was authorized by the said Acting Police Commissioner to unearth information as to “who spilled the beans” on him at the Express Office on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.
Commissioner Griffith’s position
Commissioner Gary Griffith stated when questioned, that he was not in the country and therefore would not have authorized any action. The person to give those orders, he said, would be the Acting Commissioner of Police. “You have seen how I operate, while I sit in the (Commissioner’s) chair, at no one time would there ever be any abuse of power. Right now, I am out of the country, I am not aware in any form of fashion of the action that would have been taken. As much as I know is what I have read on social media,” Griffith said.
In its Sunday expose’, the Express published an article saying that the ACP was being probed by police in relation to suspicious banking transactions. Griffith said he had received a file from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) about the alleged misconduct and gave it to the Professional Standards Bureau. Usually, files of such nature are given to the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) and the Financial Intelligence Bureau (FIB), but Griffith said he opted to give it to the PSB. Subsequently, the information was leaked to the Express.
The Commissioner’s bold drive
Commissioner Griffith took up that lawful appointment as leader, determined to make changes, under a hybrid cloud of blurred and obfuscating police legacy and culture that was highly resistant and acutely confrontational to any person coming from outside of the TTPS. You can rest assured that whilst there will be lip service acceptance, there shall never be full support, as his appointment may have interfered with many promised appointments and continued flourishing of the dastardly and nefarious arms of transnational organized crimes by elements involved on the outside with these illicit activities. It is just like bringing someone from the outside to head the Defence Force.
Furthermore, Commissioner’s Griffith modus operandi of bringing in Defence Force personnel to critical arms of the Police Service injected fuel power which may not go down well with many in the TTPS, especially those who want to see him go. Can you examine the amount of TTPS officers in organized crimes such as illegal drugs, arms and ammunition, human trafficking, murder, domestic violence and more? Can that be considered to be just a few rogue officers in the TTPS? Almost every week, officers of TTPS are in the media as a result of alleged involvement and participation in all aspects of organized crimes. Do you think it is easy for the Commissioner of Police to institute structural and meaningful changes in the TTPS? The nation is aware of the illegal quarrying that is taking place in the East. The nation is also aware of police involvement in this illegal exercise. Why not call in the army for help, Commissioner?
We must be a jokey and stupid people. If the Commissioner had a group of 25 to manage, he would be very successful, but the TTPS is far different from the military in command and structure and he would be tested at all levels in the TTPS. However, the reality appears to be after careful, investigation, covert and overt intelligence and understanding by criminal elements across the country that there exists in the TTPS at all levels, and also other national security agencies, what appears to be not only a compromised TTPS and national security.
As such this is a growing menace to the nation in the form of a parallel TTPS, firmly aligned to the underworld, business class and politicians, despite the very hard work of many trusted officers. That is the reality citizens. This criminal virus is worse than the COVID-19 as it has been nurtured and incubated and consistently growing for over four decades. The nation will need more than anti-bacterial products and toilet paper to restrain and curb this insidious monster.