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“Talk less, empathise more and rough up less”; advice for CoP Gary Griffith

“[CoP] Gary Griffith’s penchant for engaging mouth before putting brain in gear will erode the goodwill we all have in store for him. He must understand that thinking more, talking less, empathising more and roughing up less, will help overall to soothe a nation in crisis and pain.”

In the following Letter to the Editor, former TIDCO chairman Brian Harry offers words of advice for new Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith:

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left) and his wife Nicole Dyer-Griffith (centre) during the 2018 Independence Day parade in Port of Spain.
(Copyright Ministry of National Security)

At 56 years of age, Trinidad and Tobago is still trying to find a place of mutual engagement for all our diversity and for all our conversations. This is the work of leadership—at every level—including every one of us. Modern and progressive leaders must demonstrate a strong leaning toward integrity, empathy and transparency, as they focus on the real work to deliver results, build coalitions, nurture teamwork, and shape and communicate the long view.

Gary Griffith, who has recently stepped up and taken the reigns of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, has to be an example of this. He has find the right balance and timing between empathy and tough military tactics.

Gary’s penchant for engaging mouth before putting brain in gear will erode the goodwill we all have in store for him. He must understand that thinking more, talking less, empathising more and roughing up less, will help overall to soothe a nation in crisis and pain. A nation where trust in persons and institutions of authority is low.

And, importantly, a nation with little trust in the TTPS.

Of course, target the criminals with the appropriate force under the law, but your greatest show of force thus far has been against unarmed UWI students. This should have elicited a statement of empathy not a “buff” about being “Rottweilers of aggression not pothounds of nothing.”

This was an opportunity to meet with the students and assure them that their safety concerns have been heard, while issuing a stern warning about breaking the law and the most effective way to be heard. You missed an opportunity, a teachable moment!

Photo: Police officers arrest a UWI student during a protest at the school.

Our beloved CoP yesterday again weighed in on “fake news on social media”. Why?

As responsible persons, we are all concerned about fake news (lies and gossip) and the rapid and wide dissemination of such. Our crime fighting leader, however, must search deep to find and allocate the discipline to prioritise, as there are many bigger fish to fry.

An appropriate test, which he can apply himself, is to ask “who cares?” His warning about fake news would not have been the first one, yet thus far very few have been prosecuted. Gary would be better served finding and delivering low hanging fruit, so as to boost public confidence in his troops. Pick your battles!

Gary, this is time for love! And, yes tough love is still love, when well placed. It is also time to listen, learn, and lead!

About Brian Harry

Brian Harry
Brian Harry is a former CEO of TIDCO, who now lives and works in Texas. He is a consultant whose areas of specialisation include corporate development and strategy and organizational development, in the Energy, Hospitality and Financial Services Sectors.

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3 comments

  1. Narcissistic personality is a severe personality disorder that impairs empathic ability and a thorough personality assessment should be done during the recruiting of police officers.
    A foreign team of law enforcement experts is needed at this time to deal with the violent crime epidemic as our local agency is
    heavily contaminated by criminal and corrupt officers.
    International law enforcement experts would utilize intelligence led policing models to target the mafia dons and gang leaders and dismantle
    international organized criminal networks.
    They would also improve the homicide detection rate which is an overal measure of police performance.
    Foreign expertise is needed during this crisis

  2. Brian Harry needs to get in touch with reality and stop trying sell dreams.Like it or not the CoP’s attitude and approach to dealing with this runaway Trojan is what’s needed. Someone got to stand up and deal with the mess and GG is doing just that. I am appreciating what’s being done and look forward to much success.

  3. I disagree with Brian Harry totally.

    His suggested approach is what has us in this dilemma in the first place. We have too long been trying to please everyone all of the time. Whatever action is taken should be executed dispassionately in the interest of the whole. Those who are affected will conveniently cry foul and call for different handling but there must be no compromise.

    If the UWI students broke the law, then they are to be prosecuted in the same manner as anyone else in the wider society who are found guilty on the wrong side of the law. If Brian Harry’s suggestion is adopted, it will be the case of other persons or groups seeking special treatment from law enforcement and it will result in the tail wagging the dog.

    So much more can be said about Brian Harry’s suggested approach but suffice it to say the foregoing.