Trinidad Top Cop rips media, activist group over ‘camouflage’ concern

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith

(Trinidad Express) Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is responding to concerns that the camouflaged outfit he is wearing on duty, is in violation of the police dress code.

Griffith says that he and officers of specialized units of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) have not violated the police uniform.

Griffith noted yesterday’s Trinidad Express report on the camouflage issue.

He said the wearing the kit on several high risk operations and exercises does not constitute a violation, as is the claim of certain detractors.

“Having said that, the CoP is not surprised that these detractors would be making attempts to focus on what he wears instead of the job he continues to do by effecting strategies within the Police Service to secure this country. Therefore, “while the country is asking the police to reduce crime, certain entities continue to focus on what I wear, while criminals are focusing on disrupting the lives and safety of law abiding citizens and threatening peace, law and order.”

Griffith said that days after encouraging certain arms of the media against glamorizing persons of interest by giving them prominence, several polls were conducted and the vast majority in every poll agreed that the media should be careful against sensationalizing and glamourizing and to providing balanced articles.

“It is apparent that instead of exhibiting maturity and accepting these recommendations, certain entities intend to “prove a point”, as if to say no one must tell them how to do their jobs including the public, even though this is what they do to others on a daily basis.

The very next day to prove its point, the Trinidad Express blasts a headline story about a person of interest, who faces over 20 charges, including sexual and other offences. The Express glamorizes his concern, and his excuses for his own lifestyle, by blaming the police and others for his own actions” he said.

Regarding the concerns raised by secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and Welfare Associaiton Anand Ramesar, Griffith said: “one wonders whether he is speaking on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Social Service and Welfare Association (TTPSSWA), or himself, as the Commissioner is not aware that the Association held any such meeting to discuss this matter.

As a matter of fact, the TTPSSWA is fully aware that certain units in the TTPS have worn camouflage for decades. It must be noted that MultiOptional Police Section (MOPS), have worn this uniform for over 20 years; and there was never a concern by Anand Ramesar, who now has a concern. Additionally, it is the same TTPSSWA that submitted requests for digital camouflage uniforms to be worn. His comments are now very mischievous. The Police Uniform Committee has also submitted and recommended this uniform; and to further clarify, one would note that when the CoP wears the kit, he doesn’t wear it with police insignia or markings”.

Griffith also responded to the comments of what he described as a “one man” activist group, Fixing T&T. “It seems their way to Fix T&T is to send releases about the CoP, by sending over 23 releases at an average of one per week for the last six, the latest release being about the Police Red Alert. Fixing T&T continues to refuse to state who else he represents or who he is speaking on behalf of. However, in spite of his attempts at constant distractions, the TTPS and the wider population has noted that the Red

Alert strategy has yielded positive results, by ensuring that for the first time in over a decade, not one shot was fired in any hot spot community in this country. He seems disturbed about this”.

He said: “I have been briefed that there are very strong forces that would use all arms to try to deflect my focus on doing my job; and they would come from all avenues. I therefore ask members of the public to be conscious of these actions by different elements and you have my assurance that I will not be swayed to the sidelines to deal with their irrelevant attempts to adhere to their agendas.”

He said: “If my critics have become that desperate to the point that this is the irrelevant matter that they want to talk about and also to put as a front page story, then I know that I am on the right track in performing my duties. Do not focus on what I wear, while I put my life on the line, instead, be a part of the solution by avoiding sensationalism and glamourizing criminals.”

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