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Demming: The Captain vs the Major General; will T&T benefit from Dr Rowley’s new direction?

Is it any surprise that National Security Minister Edmund Dillon has been removed? The Prime Minister has chosen to sacrifice one of the persons who brought home his political victory in preference for an opposition player.

PM Dr Keith Rowley is either a masterful collaborator or the rocks he studied have gone to his head.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and his wife Sharon during 2017 Independence Day celebrations.
(Copyright Office of the Prime Minister)

Here are some excerpts from a Gary Griffith Press Release carried on TV6 on 17 June 2016:

  1. The recent confirmation that the Armoured Personal Carriers have been scrapped by Minister Dillon, again emphasises that he continues to play politics with National Security, with his sole function being to scrap, disband and dismantle everything that was of value in National Security, just because it was established by the previous Administration, regardless if it was instrumental in reducing crime or based on the direct request by the Protective Services.
  2. This illogical decision goes in line with his previous unfounded comment that our country is not at risk to terrorist activities, and had to be immediately contradicted by the Prime Minister, and rightfully so.
  3. Minister Dillon has not established one policy, but instead his sole actions have been to only shut down, dismantle or cancel every asset pleaded for by the Protective Services.
  4. This latest chapter of Minister Dillon’s agenda “of shut down and dismantle”, rips into the heart of showing blatant disregard and disrespect for our Protective Services, as it was they who strongly recommended that APCs be acquired, as they are being asked to go into volatile areas, where semi-automatic weapons with high caliber rounds can rip into any regular vehicle and easily kill our Police Officers and soldiers in a second. But Minister Dillon has the audacity to say that these vehicles would not be appropriate, so he is right and every other country that has been using this to protect their troops and our own Army are all wrong.

These are harsh criticisms and a bitter pill for Retired Major General Edmund Dillon to swallow especially since it is being administered by a mere captain.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
(Courtesy Ministry of National Security)

Within the first week of his appointment as commissioner of police, I am concerned; primarily because of the kind of power he now has, and there is very little in his past which assures me that the management side of the task is really being considered.

The new CoP has already signalled that he has “78 policies” ready for implementation. That’s commendable but one must remember Peter Drucker who said: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Why is that statement important? You can have policies till it oozes out with your sweat, but unless the new CoP is able to engage the hearts and minds of the people he is leading, nothing will change.

His leadership style so far has not been seen as collaborative. His army training is based on compliance and I have experienced the arrogance of his power plays. Unless he is an absolutely “transformed Gary”, the “cockroaches” both within the TTPS and on the streets will eat his strategies for breakfast.

Dr Rowley courted the highest levels of the military and the police to be on his election slate. He chose Brigadier General Ancil Antoine, Retired Major General Edmund Dillon and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Glenda Jennings-Smith and he already had former police/lawyer and experienced MP, Fitzgerald Hinds.

Photo: Former Minister of National Security and Retired Major General Edmund Dillon.
(Copyright Jamaica Observer)

Their collective experience with law enforcement and the military is more than 100 years. Despite this fire power, crime continues unabated.

The fact that these four experienced persons made no headway is instructive. Either they don’t know how to collaborate, or they don’t know how to manage, or both, or something else. But for our country’s sake the Captain must outperform the Major General.

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming
Dennise Demming is an Adjunct Faculty Member at UWI, Media and Communications Strategist, TEDxPOS organiser and co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain and Chairman of the Board at TTTHTI. Dennise, who grew up in East POS, also has a Business MBA and B.Sc. in Political Science & Public Administration and Mass Communications from UWI.

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2 comments

  1. Earl Best

    Whenever I hear the name “Gary.” I instinctively think of another Gary, in Sparrow’s words, “the greatest cricketer on Earth or Mars” and an indisputably major name in West Indies cricket history.

    Even if the link is tenuous, I think we may be able to learn something about the arguably talented Captain Gary Griffith from looking at the record of the truly talented Gary Sobers as captain of the West Indies. As WI leader, the man who many agree is the greatest all-rounder the game has known posted the following record:

    Games Played: 39, Won 9, Lost 10, Drawn 20.

    Brian Lara, the man who many feel is the greatest batsman the game has known, posted the following record as captain of the West Indies:

    Games Played: 47, Won 10, Lost 26, Drawn 11.

    The ten Trinidadian men who have captained the West Indies have posted the following overall record:

    Games Played: 94, Won 20, Lost 49, Drawn 25.

    So what do I conclude from all that? Well, although we are probably better at cricket than at crime fighting, neither Trini captains nor talented captains have managed a very proud record of success. Isn’t it pure unadulterated optimism that makes us expect Motor Mouth Gary’s record to be different? Is it not a still tongue which they say keeps a wise head?

    I urge you to draw your own conclusions.

  2. Earl Best

    Whenever I hear “Gary,” I almost always think immediately of Gary Sobers, a major figure in the history of West Indies cricket. So although it may not be relevant at all, here is the overall record of the Trinidadians who have been captains of the West Indies:

    Of the 535 Tests matches played by the regional side, a Trinidadian has been at the helm for 94. Of these, Brian Lara led the team for exactly half, 47, while nine others account for the other 47. However, only Jackie Grant (12), Jeffrey Stollmeyer (13) and Denesh Ramdin (13) have managed to remain as captain for more than ten matches while one has lasted three matches, one two and the other four one each.

    Here is the captaincy record of, in Sparrow’s words, “the greatest cricketer on Earth or Mars,” Gary Sobers, whose cricketing talents are not in doubt:

    Matches Played: 39 Won: 9 Lost: 10 Drawn: 20.

    I shan’t bore you with the uninspiring individual details of all matches won, lost and drawn but the record shows that a mere 20 of the 94 matches were won while 49 were lost.

    My considered conclusion? Whatever their talents on paper, Trinidadian captains have not exactly distinguished themselves in West Indies cricket, which is arguably an area where we have been much more successful than in crime fighting.

    Draw your own conclusions.