Griffith: No beef with the media

There is a Chi­nese car­tel op­er­at­ing in this coun­try, which sees nu­mer­ous Chi­nese restau­rants be­ing used as fronts for il­le­gal gam­bling, Po­lice com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith has said.

“There are more Chi­nese restau­rants than hous­es in some places, so some of these things have been used as fronts for il­le­gal gam­bling,” he said.

Grif­fith made the state­ment dur­ing an in­ter­view on i955fm’s Take Two Sun­day pro­gramme with hosts Do­minic Kaliper­sad and Roger Lee.

He said the Or­gan­ised Crime and In­tel­li­gence Unit of the Po­lice Ser­vice was deal­ing with both lo­cal gangs and for­eign gangs op­er­at­ing in T&T.

Grif­fith said while the two main for­eign gangs op­er­at­ing here are the Chi­nese and the Venezue­lans, there are al­so pock­ets of Colom­bians and Mex­i­cans.

Grif­fith said the in­for­ma­tion about the Chi­nese car­tels was not in­tend­ed to en­cour­age xeno­pho­bia and make the pub­lic be­lieve that every Chi­nese restau­rant is in­volved in il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ty.

“My job is not to make your fear­ful but for us to be care­ful,” he said.

Grif­fith said hav­ing po­lice of­fi­cers just go­ing to these places and charg­ing them for il­le­gal gam­bling was coun­ter­pro­duc­tive as the fines are mi­nus­cule.

He es­ti­mat­ed that the il­le­gal gam­bling busi­ness was worth $3 bil­lion here.

Grif­fith apol­o­gised to Kaliper­sad who he had an ear­li­er on-air spat with dur­ing a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view on TV6.

Grif­fith said he was not an­gry with the me­dia but rather is just pas­sion­ate.

“I wish to give the as­sur­ance that I nev­er make de­ci­sions when I am an­gry. I was trained in the best mil­i­tary acad­e­my in the world. I have faced the wrath of the IRA (Irish Re­pub­li­can Army) when I was in the Unit­ed King­dom at Sand­hurst,” Griffth said.

“I was the youngest of­fi­cer at the at­tempt­ed coup, as soon as I re­turned we were un­der fire, I spent six months with the Unit­ed Na­tions in Haiti so the things like this, a cit­i­zen or a me­dia re­porter telling me some­thing that is a joke com­pared,” Grif­fith said.

“So you’re not re­al­ly vex?” Kaliper­sad asked.

“No it is just that I am pas­sion­ate,” Grif­fith re­spond­ed.

“So you don’t re­al­ly have a beef with the me­dia any­more?” Kaliper­sad asked.

“Not at all I nev­er did,” he said.

Grif­fith said some per­sons per­ceive his pas­sion in a wrong man­ner.

Grif­fith said he would do every­thing in his pow­er to en­sure the coun­try is made a bet­ter place even if the sta­tis­tics do not re­flect it im­me­di­ate­ly.

“I promise that we will be in a bet­ter place on Au­gust 31 (the an­niver­sary of his ap­point­ment) to how we were last year, I do not in­tend to fail, I in­tend to do all that is re­quired but some­times we have to bleed to heal,” Grif­fith said.

“I could eas­i­ly sit back ne­go­ti­ate with crim­i­nal el­e­ments, not dri­ve for­ward and do what is re­quired and try to hope that the sta­tis­tics would show some­thing, I do not op­er­ate like that,” he said.

Grif­fith said every mur­der that takes place here af­fects him per­son­al­ly.

“Every sin­gle time there is a homi­cide I take it per­son­al­ly, so it af­fects me per­son­al­ly be­cause I see my­self as be­ing re­spon­si­ble,” he said.

- by Joel Julien

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