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Police urge Griffith to open criminal probe against PSC chair – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


 Police Service Commission chairman Bliss Seepersad presents Gary Griffith with his letter of appointment as Commissioner of Police on August 3, 2018. Griffith's term ended on August 17, 2021. -
Police Service Commission chairman Bliss Seepersad presents Gary Griffith with his letter of appointment as Commissioner of Police on August 3, 2018. Griffith’s term ended on August 17, 2021. –

Senior police officers loyal to acting police commissioner Gary Griffith are urging him to launch a criminal investigation into the conduct of the chairman of the Police Service Commission over her sole decision to suspend Griffith from office without evidence.

One senior officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Griffith can make a report against Seepersad on the basis of alleged misbehaviour in public office and conspiring with an unnamed senior public official to prevent his nomination as a candidate for CoP being sent to Parliament.

The officer, whose views were supported by other senior ranks, said Seepersad acted alone to withhold the Order of Merit List from President Paula-Mae Weekes on August 12 and again acted under protest from three other PSC commissioners to suspend Griffith on September 17, four days before he was scheduled to resume duties.

Sources close to Griffith’s camp said the acting CoP is seriously considering making a formal report for full-scale investigation to commence.

This is the latest in unravelling of the PSC and fiasco surrounding the appointment of a substantive CoP. Two members of the PSC – Courtney McNish and Dr Susan Craig-James – resigned last week over Seepersad’s refusal to consult with them before Griffith was suspended.

The absence has left the PSC without jurisdiction or constitutionally alive as it does not have a quorum to make any decisions, including advising its team of lawyers engaged in three separate related court cases.

A third member of the PSC, Roger Kawalsingh, has been asked by the President to provide in writing the reason for copying Griffith in sensitive correspondence addressed to the other PSC members and the Deputy Director of Personnel Administration Corey Harrison.

On September 23, Seepersad withdrew Griffith’s notice of suspension after he agreed to go on voluntary leave pending the outcome of an investigation led by retired Justice of Appeal Stanley John into allegations of corruption in the granting of firearm user’s licences and possible interference in a police investigation against Christian Chandler, the head of the legal unit in the police service.

Chandler was stopped by Coast Guard and members of the Coastal and Riverine Patrol Unit on August 5 aboard his pleasure craft, Knot Guilty, with three police officers, a businessman, the boat captain and eight women off Chaguaramas. Police are investigating a possible breach of the public health regulations among other criminal offences.

In a letter to Griffith, the retired judge said Griffith nor any other police office was the subject of his investigation.

Legal sources questioned how the PSC, which is now in abeyance, can receive or act on the report of the retired judge and can also pave the way for Griffith to possibly return to office within days. Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob has been appointed to act as CoP until October 15.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj and those representing the Attorney General are expected to appear before Justice Nadia Kangaloo on Monday on an interpretation summons questioning the legality of the PSC decision to follow Legal Notice 183 and appoint Griffith to act as CoP from August 17, after his three-year contract ended.

The State intends to rely on the legal opinion of retired Caribbean Court of Justice judge Rolston Nelson to concede the the legal notice is bad law and the court will have to make such a declaration.

Griffith’s legal challenge to his suspension is also before the same judge and it is likely to be withdrawn after the parties reached an out of court settlement.


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