PORT OF SPAIN – National Security Minister Gary Griffith came out in full support of the protective services yesterday, beaming with pride as he boasted that Trinidad and Tobago’s serious crime rate had been cut by half since 2009.
The minister mandated that in the coming year the focus of the nation’s security forces is to dismantle illegal gangs, remove illegal guns already in the country and prevent more from coming in.
“The success is there so let’s continue to support and let’s not criticise for the sake of criticising,” said Griffith.
The Minister was flanked by Deputy Commissioner of Police (ACP) Glenn Hackett, whom he mistakenly referred to as ACP (Peter) Reyes—the policeman in the news for an incident involving a cellular phone on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Trinidad to Tobago last week—during a brief interview at Inter Agency Task Force headquarters in Aranjuez.
Griffith quickly corrected himself, stating that it was a name he had on his mind, especially when DCP Hackett experienced difficulty switching off his ringing Blackberry Z10 cell phone yesterday morning.
“I am here to give solidarity to our troops, whereas the majority of our country are at home with loved ones, obviously there will be a need for certain agencies to be there to protect ourselves and families and citizens of our country and I think it’s something that ought to be recognised, that the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement agencies 24/7,” said Griffith.
“This year, thanks to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force…has proven to be the lowest number of serious crimes in this country in 31 years,” he added.
“They (the protective services) broke the record last year and then this year there were 12,000 serious crimes compared to 2009 where we had 22,000 serious crimes, so when you do the maths it is that every single hour there was one less serious crime committed in comparison to 2009.
“When we speak about serious crimes we speak about homicides, rapes, kidnappings and armed robbery,” he explained.
To the gang members, or those desirous of joining criminal gangs, Griffith had a message intended specially for them.
“It is very difficult to be protected by the law if you yourself operate outside of the law,” said the minister, who revealed that out of the 400 murders in 2013, 250 of those were as a result of gang-related activities.
To the troops, he said: “We have your back as it is not easy for anyone to put their hand on a Bible and be prepared to be the ultimate patriot, that you are willing to give your life to your country and that you are willing to give up your life for a stranger. (Trinidad Express)