Trinidad: Special Branch uncovers plot to kill Top Cop, family

Commissioner Gary Griffith

(Trinidad Guardian) Two notorious criminal gangs want Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and his family dead.

And the nefarious elements are willing to pay top dollar to hired contract killers to silence the CoP and his close family members for good.

The sinister plot was unearthed by Special Branch police officers who compiled an 11-page top-secret report assessing the threat against Griffith and his family in November last year.

Page 10 of the report surmises how serious the threat could be, stating, “Recent information has further suggested a possible bounty that has been placed on the head of the CoP with part payment in advance and the rest when the job has been completed. These robust approaches combined with new initiatives that are to be unveiled shortly have made the CoP the most high-risk individual in our nation.”

Guardian Media obtained the confidential document from top intelligence sources and contacted Griffith early last week to not only validate the authenticity of the document but also to question him about the perceived threats.

Griffith was hesitant at first to meet to discuss the secret report because of obvious security concerns. However, last Thursday he agreed to address some of the troubling concerns raised in the report.

Questioned about him being marked for death, he responded, “Well, it is a confidential report but I would not deny the fact that information has come to my attention that there are criminal elements that are obviously upset about what has been happening over the last few months with hundreds of millions in drugs being seized, persons arrested.

“Obviously, my job is to cripple the business, cripple the industry and if it is going to affect persons well then so be it. I am not in any way prepared to change my stance.”

While Special Branch is tasked with ensuring the highest level of security for the prime minister and president, their investigations seem to suggest that the threat level has never been so high for any CoP and his family in the past.

The top-secret report was completed on November 26 last year by an acting inspector (name withheld) and submitted to the Head of Special Branch. This threat assessment, sources say, was triggered by a series of telephone threats made to Griffith via the police Command Centre. While a large majority of these calls were deemed a nuisance, what law enforcement authorities unearthed was profoundly more disturbing and life-threatening, Griffith confirmed.

“I actually heard there have been several threats and we are not speaking about the situations where persons contacted 999 and made these prank calls or idle threats. What we are speaking about is organised criminal activity obviously, as I stated their business is being affected. The reports say they have several planned attempts on me, one is actually a two million dollar hit. I was a little disappointed, I thought I was worth a little more than that,” Griffith said.

He continued: “But yes there is obviously a clear and present danger. I am not in any way concerned and I know exactly what is to be done. The point is Mark, is if I did not get these threats and these concerns did not take place I would be concerned, that is when I will be concerned because it means I am not doing my job.

“The fact that this is popping up it means I am hurting the right people and when I say hurt these people I mean affecting their business, affecting their trade and pegging them back.”

In assessing the threat capability, Special Branch fingered specific gangs that were quite prepared to wipe out Griffith. The report said, “Information gathered during this assessment indicates that elements within Rasta City and Muslim gang criminal networks may be linked to some of these threats with their respective members possessing the capability to conduct such attacks.”

But Special Branch indicated in the report that they did not think the gangs had the ability on their own to carry out the threats.

Although the gangs capable of carrying out the attacks on Griffith and his family were named in the report, Griffith steered clear of naming any nefarious gangs connected to the plot to Guardian Media.

“I would not be able to pinpoint who the individuals are or what unit or gangs they are from. It is a fact there are gangs, there would be individuals and it is cartel gang activity. It is a thriving business for them, my job is to dismantle them and my job is to cut that financial cord and the business that they get in any form or fashion,” declared Griffith.

The report said Griffith’s robust approach to tackling crime makes him and his family the prime target of criminals. But Griffith was guarded when questioned about his family’s safety.

“I’m definitely not going to mention anything pertaining to my family, that is confidential. The security threats and security concerns pertaining to myself is something that the public should be aware of because I am a person in public life as the Commissioner of Police. And if there is information pertaining to threats or security matters about myself, there are things the public can and cannot know as it pertains to my family. I will not be in a position to state anything. What I can state I know, what needs to be done and it is being done!” said Griffith.

Despite the threat to himself and his family, Griffith insisted his mental and psychological resolve has not been shaken.

“I am doing what is needed to be done. I am not making any foolish and reckless decisions. I am not going to shirk my responsibility because of any concern pertaining to my safety and well being,” he said.

“Somebody has to push the envelope and I will continue to ask the public, I do not want them to take this fight. I will take the fight and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) are all behind me and they are taking this fight. This is a war out there.”

However, he said he had taken several personal security measures apart from his team’s security blanket and he will continue to keep the criminals guessing.

The report also suggested beefing up security measures at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain to ensure the further safety of the CoP. At the end of the report, Special Branch made nine recommendations to bolster the safety of Griffith and his family.

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