Trinidad Top Cop says going after ‘big fish’

Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith (right)

(Trinidad Guardian) Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith says in the com­ing months he will be form­ing a di­vi­sion to tack­le white col­lar crime.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day at a sem­i­nar at the Uni­ver­si­ty of the West In­dies St Au­gus­tine Cam­pus, host­ed by the De­part­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and ti­tled ‘En­gen­der­ing Trust in the Po­lice Ser­vice’, the com­mis­sion­er was asked by mod­er­a­tor, Shane Mo­hammed, what is be­ing done about the so- called ‘big fish’ in the coun­try.

Grif­fith said with re­spect to the ‘big fish’ in­volved in se­ri­ous crime, they feel they are their own boss­es.

“They feel they are thugs and they can do what they want, but I can tell some of them, every day is not Sun­day and we will deal with them one by one,” Grif­fith said to a half filled au­di­to­ri­um.

How­ev­er, the com­mis­sion­er said there is an­oth­er type of ‘big fish’, those in­volved in white-col­lar crime.

“Many times peo­ple mea­sure the state of a coun­try and se­cu­ri­ty by the state of se­ri­ous crime, but one homi­cide or three hun­dred homi­cides can­not be as dan­ger­ous to a coun­try as 25 bil­lion be­ing stolen.”

The com­mis­sion­er said there will be a mas­sive turn­around in the com­ing months as the po­lice ser­vice fo­cuss­es on white col­lar-crime. He sug­gest­ed that it will be an amal­ga­ma­tion of ex­ist­ing units.

“We have the FIB, we have the ACIB, we have the Cy­ber Crime Unit, we have the Fraud Squad and all of them are sep­a­rate, I in­tend to form a Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Di­vi­sion, and all of these things that have been out­stand­ing for years, I will put an end to it.”

Grif­fith said this will not be a witch hunt but he says a prece­dent must be set to let law break­ers know that they can­not con­tin­ue to siphon mon­ey out of a coun­try.

He says for­fei­ture of ill got­ten gains will pro­vide much need­ed funds for the coun­try..

He said cur­rent­ly there is a sys­tem where cer­tain peo­ple have enor­mous wealth and can­not ac­count for it.

Grif­fith said there is al­ready ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion that can help but, he said, Civ­il As­set For­fei­ture Leg­is­la­tion can help. He said it’s some­thing he draft­ed when he served as Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty.

Demon­strat­ing how it will work by us­ing one of the mod­er­a­tors as an ex­am­ple, Grif­fith said, “So, Shane you have a fan­cy shoes but you’re mak­ing 200 dol­lars a month, how did you buy it? If you can­not ac­count for it, then we take it from you.”

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