As he flew out of the country yesterday on vacation, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith welcomed the decision of the chair of the National Security Council (PM Dr Keith Rowley) to bring in foreign expertise for the Drugs Sou Sou probe.
Rowley announced on Thursday night at a virtual PNM meeting in Belmont that British and Barbadian police officers were being hired to assist in the investigations into the seizure and subsequent disappearance of $22 million in cash which had been found in a house at Kathleen Warner Drive, La Horquetta, on September 22.
In a release yesterday, Griffith said these foreign officers would not be consultants, but would be sworn in as Special Reserve Police Officers and would have the powers of the officers of the TTPS to assist in this investigation.
As chair of the National Security Council, Rowley on Thursday night said he had contacted the British and Barbados governments, seeking advice on how the matter should be handled. The Prime Minister is awaiting the arrival of the foreign investigators.
In response to this decision, Griffith said sourcing of foreign officers will be instrumental to assist the TTPS in this investigation, which involves senior officers as well as members of the Defence Force. He noted that, on several occasions, there were reports that police officers were interfering and preventing the matter from being thoroughly investigated. The CoP pointed out that four officers were suspended and 11 others transferred, and there is the possibility that other officers could be suspended as the investigation progresses. “This matter has gone very deep, and if we can get that international assistance, because I have Trojan horses, and it goes very high up. So if this is an avenue that can assist me in bringing possible perpetrators to justice, especially those in uniform, I welcome that decision,” he said.
Griffith said having external investigators could ensure a strong degree of transparency. He said he had selected a special team of police officers whom he can trust to work alongside the international investigators to deal with any possible rogue elements in the TTPS, and also to pinpoint persons outside the Police Service who may be committing serious criminal activity by this system which is being used—the DSS.
A police-led operation at the house in La Horquetta resulted in the seizure of $22 million in cash. The money was taken from the house to the La Horquetta Police Station to be counted. During the early hours of the following day (September 23), the money was handed back to a man who has been described as the founder of DSS, the TTPS release stated.