Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith responded promptly to allegations against his ‘right hand man’ and head of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Legal Unit, Christian Chandler, today by immediately informing the public that the latter employee had ‘proceeded on leave’.
And by ‘promptly’ we don’t mean as soon as the alleged misbehaviour occurred on 5 August 2021, as one would expect from the head lawman. Rather, Griffith responded as soon as the alleged misbehaviour was publicised by Trinidad Express investigative journalist Denyse Renne on 16 August 2021, as one would expect from a politician.
But then Trinidad and Tobago ought to have known what it was getting when it hired Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s former national security advisor to run the local police service.
The language of the TTPS release was instructive. Chandler, according to Griffith, ‘has proceeded on leave pending the determination of an investigation into the report of an incident on 5 August 2021’ and ‘investigations into an incident at sea are currently being carried out by officers of the Western Division’.
He was not ‘suspended’, ‘sent on leave’ or even ‘asked to take leave’. For all Mr Live Wire knows, Chandler simply spotted a chance for a long weekend.
Compare Griffith’s tone in that release to another statement on his Facebook page yesterday:
‘Twenty-three men and twenty-eight women were arrested during a party at a house in Real Spring, Valsayn, for breach of Public Health Regulations and gathering in excess of five persons…’
If officers at Valsayn could do a head count and determine that a breach of the public health regulations occurred, where was the mathematician on 5 August when Chandler plus 13 came off his yacht ‘Knot Guilty’?
But by now there have been countless examples of differing police treatment depending on if the ‘illegal’ gathering happened in Bayside Towers, on a yacht owned (somehow) by an employee of the police service, or in Beetham, Enterprise or Samaroo Village. And if the alleged victim is named ‘Laing’ or ‘Pollanais’, as opposed to ‘Riley’ or ‘Bharath’.
It is worth noting too why Chandler’s yacht was stopped in the first place. A 27-year-old female passenger from west Trinidad thought she was attending a going away lime for a female friend.
Instead, she told officers that she found herself on a surreal outing with middle aged off-duty policemen showing off their firearms like a nerdy gangster video—was Chandler compensating for something?—and a creepy 51-year-old passenger allegedly harassing her with persistent sexual advances towards her.
‘[…] She then became fearful and felt as if she was being held on the vessel against her will…’
If Chandler was a bag packer at Massy Stores and had found himself in that sort of adventure, which was topped off by an armed standoff with the Coast Guard, his manager would probably have asked him to take two weeks off while HR considers its next move.
But he was only working for the flipping Police Service… So back to work as normal, then!
Griffith’s right hand man you say? John Wick-lite might want to use profuse quantities of sanitiser before he proffers that hand to anyone in the future—if there IS a future for Facebook’s most belligerent prefect.
The distressed female passenger, incidentally, knew the wife of Coast Guard captain Don Polo personally and rang her up to reveal her plight. And the Coast Guard dispatched an interceptor boat straight away; to rescue a woman who was just feet away from three armed TTPS employees.
Once they had disembarked, the Western division allowed Chandler and his law enforcement colleagues to head home with their weapons. Protect and serve, you say? Protect and serve who exactly?
If that excursion says anything about the usefulness of lawmen, young women should stop at nothing to get their hands on Polo’s WhatsApp number, sharpish.
It is not about WHAT you know on the twin island republic, but WHO—pandemic or not.
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