(Trinidad Guardian) With the recent announcement of a new elite unit to tackle white-collar crime in T&T and promises that the “Big Fish” will be arrested and brought to justice, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith is assuring that it will not be a unit engaging in witch-hunt. Griffith also said he intends to “acquire” local and international expertise from outside to improve its effectiveness. The following is a short Question and Answer with the CoP.
What are the financial bodies being merged to form the new unit to fight white-collar crime in T&T?
CoP: Financial Intelligence Division (FID) with subunits from Financial Intelligence Bureau, Fraud Squad, Professional Standards Bureau, elements of Organised Crime Intelligence Unit, and Cyber Crime Unit.
What are the major white-collar matters outstanding over the years that are to be dealt with?
This is not a witch-hunt unit to specify any particular case or cases. It is to ensure a more effective arm of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) to deal with such crimes and at a faster basis. It would also ensure better sharing of data between these units and likewise, between TTPS and other units in the Ministry of National Security.
How many of those white-collar crimes involving politicians or high office holders in T&T have reached your desk?
This is answered in Question 2.
Are you going to source external help to probe these matters—like former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Bob Lindquist or another international expert?
Yes. I intend to acquire local and international expertise to improve the capability of this division. Also doing a massive injection in our legal department by appointing a head of the Legal Department and a few others to ensure that TTPS tightens up to prevent any loopholes that can be used by persons if charged. Also, international prosecutorial team to do likewise.
Have you been liaising with the Office of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs on these white-collar matters?
TTPS is an independent body. But we would and need to liaise with different external agencies to maximise our effectiveness, inclusive of the NSC, Chief Justice, DPP, PCA, and office of the AG.