Trinidad Top Cop: No witch-hunt in white-collar crime investigations

Gary Grif­fith

(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.

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