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‘Answer me and I’ll stop Commissioner’s Cup!’ Griffith makes public appeal as CMO skips meeting

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said he is waiting on answers to points raised in his press statement this evening before deciding on the fate of the 2020 Commissioner’s Cup.

The Commissioner’s Cup football tournament caters to over 2,000 children nationwide who are divided into under-14, under-16 and under-18 categories and was initially due to kick off in early August.

Photo: Trendsetter Hawks ‘A’ player Joshua Jackson (centre) brushes aside a QPCC opponent during RBYL U-11 action at the Queen’s Park Savannah on 25 May 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

However, the competition was thrown into doubt after repeated advisories by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh that all children’s activities should be delayed until September, due to concerns about Covid-19 infections.

“I am still waiting for clarification because the government is telling me I should proceed but the CMO is hinting that I shouldn’t,” Griffith told Wired868. “The attorney general and the minister of national security have given me a thumbs up to continue but the CMO is saying otherwise. So I have raised a couple questions in my press release and I am waiting to get an answer.”

Incidentally, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) was visited by a representative from the CMO’s office today. Dr Parasram did not attend the meeting and, this morning, Deyalsingh made it clear that Griffith’s comments about him and his CMO had not gone unnoticed.

“All the advice we have given about children, which has not gone down well in some quarters,” said Deyalsingh. “[…] Both the CMO and I have been under the gun about the measures we are taking to protect children…”

Photo: Ministry of Health CMO Dr Roshan Parasram.

Despite his continuing questions on the issue of sport competitions for minors, Griffith also chose not to attend the meeting with the CMO’s representative. He declined to answer whether he snubbed talks because he was informed that Dr Parasram would not be there.

Griffith did say that the CMO’s representative stuck the line of the Ministry of Health’s bigwigs, which was: ‘it is not against the law but we do not advise it’.

The commissioner of police still does not view that as a satisfactory answer. He pointed to fact that some school and youth teams stopped training because of the CMO’s advice while some continued on the grounds that the government’s public health ordinance made it okay to do so.

“They are confusing the life out of everyone,” he said.

So will the Commissioner’s Cup be stopped?

Griffith said he has no problem calling off the tournament—but first he wants some clarification.

Photo: Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith in action during the “Football for a Cause” charity match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 26 October 2018.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

“We will adhere to the medical health guidance, don’t get me wrong,” said Griffith. “But my point is there are mixed messages. You cannot say it is improper for an organised tournament but not for hundreds of children to go to Maracas Bay, or to a waterpark, or to sweat at the Queen’s Park Savannah or to a movie within a closed environment. That makes no sense.

“How is an organised football game a higher risk factor than hundreds of children at Maracas Bay?”

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read full press statement from Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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One comment

  1. I am in disbelief at the amount of time and energy Griffith is putting into having this football competition, when the murder solve rate is 16% according to the police.

    Shouldn’t some of that time and energy be put to more effective policing, reducing the corruption within the TTPS, gathering evidence to convict the ‘kill squad’ apparently roaming free within the TTPS, etc.?

    Any independent observer may well point out that Griffith is well on the way galloping to his own demise. Hubris has set in firmly, and the taste of the power exercised by the CoP seems to have made him Quixotic, to say the least.