Saturday 19 September, 2020

Griffith says he never gave permission for use of image on manifesto

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has stated openly that he did not give his permission for any of his images to be used in political Manifestos.

Griffith told Loop News that he only became aware that his image had been used in the Manifesto for the People’s National Movement (PNM) yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

“I am smack in the middle of leading operations to ensure the country adheres to the Covid Regs, CPL, as well as motorcades and meetings leading up to the General Election.'

'So, I definitely did not see or read any manifesto published by any political party. What I can say is there have been several Manifestos over the last few decades which would have a photograph of a police officer in their National Security extract of their Manifestos.'

'Probably my photograph may be as sensational as it would be controversial. We have no law to prevent it, but likewise we would not approve or endorse it,” Griffith explained.

He noted that because of this position as Commissioner, he would not even be voting for elections, but would be ensuring that law and order was maintained throughout the country.

“I will not be voting while I hold this office, because it may run the risk of one side thinking that I am biased, when I am completely neutral, as an office-holder should be. So, to avoid all of that, I will be abstaining from voting,” Griffith said.

This week, political activist Devant Maharaj, through his attorneys, wrote a letter to Griffith asking if the commissioner did give his permission, noting that, in weeks prior the ‘Top Cop’ had condemned any public showing of support by his own officers.

'Most notably, recently, former national calypso monarch Mr Duanne O’Connor was suspended for allegedly showing support for a political party because he allowed himself to be screened to be considered as a candidate in the last local government elections.'

During the announcement of this action, the Commissioner took the opportunity to warn the entire police service against that type of conduct by stating:

'Every one of my police officers has the right to support who they choose, but that must be done in here. It cannot be done publicly. At any time any police officer in and out of uniform decides to openly condemn a political party, or support a political party… they must be immediately disciplined'. 

Maharaj said: 'If the commissioner did in fact grant permission, then this goes against the independence of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and is in stark contrast to what the Police Service Regulations allow.'



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