“[…] Is it acceptable for aspirants for the post of commissioner of police to publicly criticise each other by name before the selection process has been completed by the Police Service Commission?
“[…] How is Griffith going to manage being the leader of a political party one day, and a few weeks or months later he is the CoP? […]”
The following Letter to the Editor on the public utterances of aspiring commissioner of police Gary Griffith was submitted to Wired868 by Louis W Williams of St Augustine:
Gary Griffith, in a very recent letter to the editor which received wide coverage in the local news media, asserted that it was not Covid-19, but his very astute leadership that induced a very motivated Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), and resulted in the statistics on murders during the period January 2020 to the present time, being better than under the leadership of his successor, Ag CoP, Mc Donald Jacob.
Griffith is entitled to his point of view. There are some in the society—both professionals in relevant fields of human endeavour and ordinary laymen—who will agree with him. There are also others who will disagree. That is to be expected.
His statistical analysis of the crime of murder during his tenure when compared with his successor leaves much to be desired. For example, much of the hardships experienced by poor families after such a long haul obviously would have been exacerbated at the end of the period under reference rather than at the beginning.
Blue-collar crime, including murder, has its roots in certain unresolved social issues and therefore, since it is multi-dimensional, it requires a multi-disciplinary approach.
The TTPS is only dealing with the tip of the iceberg. A whole-of-government approach is required to effectively deal with blue-collar crime.
One of my concerns has to do with the fact that Griffith, an aspirant for the position of CoP, has chosen to publicly criticise, by name, another aspirant for the post—prior to the completion of the selection process by the PolSC.
Griffith singled out Jacob by name, heaping scorn, rather than addressing the issue without calling Jacob’s name. It is not what you do, but how you do it.
This demonstrates a lack of mature judgement. Such comments can have the effect of undermining morale within the TTPS.
What will happen if Griffith is appointed CoP? How will junior officers view Jacob, having regard to Griffith’s public comments?
This is why organisations, in both the public and private sectors globally, have meetings that are restricted to senior management only, in order to avoid situations where junior staff present lose respect for their managers because they are criticised by higher-ups—whether such criticisms are justified or not.
For higher-ups to criticise senior management in the presence of junior staff could have a very devastating and negative impact on morale.
I am also very uncomfortable with Griffith being the leader of a political party and, at the same time, being considered for the post of CoP.
Some persons take the view that once certain things are not prohibited by law, then they are okay. However, the law cannot cater for every eventuality and therefore, for the sake of the maintenance of good order, heavy reliance is placed on the good sense, reflective wisdom and mature judgement of the citizenry.
How is Griffith going to manage being the leader of a political party one day, and a few weeks or months later he is the CoP? Worse, he is politically opposed to the governing party and the official Opposition, and has repeatedly stated so publicly.
How is that going to work (although it may be his constitutional right to do so since there is no law against it)?
What is there to stop any individual in the situation outlined above, from pursuing his political agenda while in the office of CoP?
I believe that in such a situation there will always be the suspicion—unfounded or otherwise—by the Government, that such an individual is pursuing a hidden agenda.
This is clearly an untenable situation; a recipe for disaster. Crime is too important an issue to be enmeshed in such chaos.