Commissioner of Police: Gary Griffith

Commissioner of Police: Gary Griffith

The Sunday Express sent three questions to CoP Gary Griffith ­yesterday morning, seeking comment on the Sunday Express investigation. Here are the questions and Griffith’s responses:

SE: Did investigating officers advise you against the issuance of FULs and Provisional Licences to several citizens, and did you ignore that ­advice? If yes, why?

GG: Upon my assumption to the office of Commissioner of Police I inherited a backlog of pending FUL applications where persons would have gone through the investigative process and met the criteria for the issuance of an FUL, but were left in a land of abeyance with no word as to whether or not their applications were approved.

I met several letters from attorneys making representation on behalf of their clients threatening legal action and several pending Firearms Appeal Board matters. I sought to clear up the backlog. In so doing, I met a flawed investigative process which I’m in the process of correcting.

Additionally, with regards to the non-recommended files by investigators, I found it to be subjective and ­unfair (just) because persons’ lives “were under no immediate threat” they were not recommended.

Am I to wait until there is an ­attempt on the life of a citizen before I can give them the opportunity to defend themselves, their families and their property? Not under my watch.

As such, I took the decision to review all these files and used my authority given to me by the Firearms Act to grant such licences.

As Commissioner of Police, I am going to do everything within my lawful power to protect the lives of the citizens of this country. I issued FULs to persons of all walks of life without fair or favour, malice or ill will.

Firearm Users Licences

• August to December 2018 - 613

• January to December 2019 -1695

• January to September 2020 -1628

Provisional Permits

• August to December 2018 - 213

• January to December 2019 - 946

• January to September 2020 - 1083

Prior to taking up office, the figure for FULs for 2018 was 126, and provisionals was 19.

SE: Why did you approve FULs and Provisional Licences to several applicants who are currently before the courts on criminal charges?

GG: Again, due to a flawed investigative process that I inherited and am in the process of restructuring, I understand that before my tenure persons with pending charges were granted FULs.

I have since formed an intelligence and investigative unit within the Firearms Section called the Firearms Compliance Unit that reports directly to me on all issues of non-compliance with regards to persons attempting to slip through the cracks.

I have also instructed that the criminal records which include pending matters be placed on FUL applications to properly guide me in my deliberations.

Investigators have a period of two months to complete their investigations, as instructed by the Standing Orders.

If they fail to do so, I am going to exercise the power to intervene by way of the Firearms Compliance Unit to run proper background checks on all applicants.

SE: Several businessmen who were granted FULs are also donors to the ISOS fund. Were you influenced by this?

GG: Your character may allow you to be influenced by donations. Mine is different. Such an irresponsible comment is expected by the Express.

It is similar as asking if the Express would be biased and influenced to print false or biased stories to benefit those who advertise in their newspaper.

Is this what the Express does? Are they influenced by external units to discredit the police?

Unlike the Express, the TTPS is not influenced by those who are mature enough to decide to work with the TTPS to reduce crime, and FULs are approved based on persons having the right to bear arms if they provide what it required, whilst certain persons do just the opposite as it seems that they have a directive and an agenda to discredit the TTPS, as every article they print, it is aligned to attack the police.

Are you being influenced by external persons to publish 44 consecutive negative articles on the TTPS?


ALL 250 people detained early yesterday morning at a “zesser party” in Caroni will be charged.

This is the assurance of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

He told the Express he had given directives that everyone held at the event be charged under Paragraph 4(d) of the Public Heath coronavirus legislation.

While some are expected to appear before a Chaguanas magistrate today for the offence, others will face charges via summons as names and addresses of everyone who attended the event were obtained by police.

AYANNA PAUL, a 30-year-old unemployed mother of seven, wants to help her children to find a future of hope, even in poverty.

But Paul and her partner cannot afford this on only his earnings as a market vendor.

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee, Chief Whip for the United National Congress (UNC), is maintaining his position that the statistics do not support the continuation of the anti-gang legislation.

Lee was speaking during a news conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, at Charles Street, Port of Spain.

It’s a lie! It’s a damn lie!

This is how Vasant Bharath responded to accusations by incumbent United National Congress (UNC) political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar that he had campaigned for the People’s National Movement in the lead-up to the August 10 general election.

Bharath, who is Persad-Bissessar’s sole competitor for leadership of the party in the UNC’s December 6 internal election, held a news conference yesterday at his campaign headquarters in San Juan, where he addressed the issue.

More than 20 Trinidadian contract workers at farms in Canada say they have been neglected by the Government.

Many left the country in early January prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to undertake farming positions contracted through the Ministry of Labour and are still awaiting exemptions to return home.