Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar told the nation today that she was advised to appoint former Defence Force Captain Gary Griffith as her fourth National Security Minister in three years.
It might not have been the most impartial advice the Prime Minister ever received. Her advisor on national security matters is none other than Griffith himself.
Senator Emmanuel George, the UNC’s jack of all trades but master of none, is now the new Minister of Justice, which is his fourth ministerial portfolio since 2010. What George thinks about the National Security Advisor taking his job is anyone’s guess. It is like a groom losing his wife to the marriage counselor.
At least Griffith will make Parliament a livelier place. Last year, Griffith set a new speed walking record when, according to Opposition MP Donna Cox, she got into an elevator on the second floor to escape his verbal abuse only to find him waiting for her on the third floor.
Griffith, in his defence, claimed he strolled up the flight of stairs. If violent criminals are only as tough as unarmed female MPs, the former soldier should have no problems.
Incidentally, Griffith was the common denominator in an embarrassing State of Emergency and three failed National Security Ministers. In a normal organisation, he might be worried about his job security. But, being an extraordinary leader, the Prime Minister promoted him.
Griffith gave the public a taste of his ideas this March when, after the murder of Police Sargeant Hayden Manwaring, he suggested that more guns rather than less was the answer.
“Having a firearm gives a sense of security,” Griffith told the Trinidad Guardian, “in that you have a chance to protect yourself against the criminal elements out there.”
Of course being a licensed and trained gun-user did not save the murdered policeman while even the gun-crazy United States is trying to curb the accessibility of firearms at the moment. But why let rationale interfere with a good point?
Persad-Bissessar further reasoned that: “we wanted someone with a military background.”
Perhaps she forgot that her first National Security Minister, Brigadier John Sandy, actually held a higher military rank than Griffith. Persad-Bissessar replaced him with Jack Warner, who was under police investigation at the time for his role in an international bribery scandal, and then with the placebo, George.
Griffith, mind you, is under investigation by the police after an email probe initiated by the Opposition Leader. Maybe the Deputy Police Commissioner will give him back his computer and Blackberry now.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has kept faith in Sport Minister Anil Roberts.
“I can assure you that no one will escape scrutiny of his or her performance and satisfaction of the public interest,” she said.
It is hard to know if the Prime Minister was being honest though since her lips were moving at the time.