When I took this position as Minister of National Security, I fully anticipated that there would be armchair critics who cannot submit one shred of positive advice to improve our National Security structure but would instead criticise just for the sake of criticising.
Dana Seetahal and Nizam Mohammed have just confirmed my theory, based on their articles to criticise the fact that they have issues related to the Pandora’s Box that was opened to treat with the very few police officers who may be rogue elements and non-performers.
Clearly, Nizam Mohammed and Dana Seetahal missed the simple fact that I have said and that I stand firm on, which is that rogue elements in the Police Service should and must be fired.
To interpret this statement as saying that I, Gary Griffith, would be the one to fire them means that perhaps some persons are so blinded by their personal feelings about the messenger that they have completely misconstrued the message.
I have no intention to stroke egos as this has been an element that has plagued our society, with certain persons fighting for turf and always trying to find an excuse to say why things cannot be done and changes cannot be made, instead of finding remedies and recommendations to make it happen.
A police officer turns away a man who has turned himself in after committing attempted manslaughter by chopping up a woman who had reported it and for four days, nothing was done, after which, I said that such a person should be dismissed, but Dana Seetahal jumps on the bandwagon to defend what cannot be defended and talks about “industrial relations”.
It is such senseless comments that have caused our law-enforcement agencies to be stagnant, with persons fighting to defend what is wrong, rather than state what should be done to make it right.
But such irresponsible statements and actions could probably be said by such persons who sit in their well-protected ivory towers, sometimes, easily forgetting about the hundreds of thousands who need State protection and a competent, accountable Police Service because they cannot afford to protect themselves.
It is because of these armchair critics, who have absolutely no experience or knowledge in security but can easily criticise, that our society has been forced to see the decay of our nation’s security, which includes no systems to measure the performance of our police officers or have them better trained, managed and made accountable for their actions.
Similarly, these same law-enforcement personnel are asked to perform above and beyond the call of duty by putting their lives at risk daily, so we ask them to work at high risk but give them low rewards, and again, this is because we have not put good management systems to measure their performance and to properly hire, fire, reward, promote or demote, based on this system for accountability and measuring their performance.
It is unfortunate if Dana Seetahal thinks that a Minister of National Security’s primary function is to simply provide assets and funds for the law-enforcement agencies as whilst I sit in this chair, I have no intention to be an armchair minister but one who would do what is required to ensure that the proper policies are implemented to ensure better management of our law-enforcement agencies, which can be the only avenue for them to perform above and beyond the call of duty so they can be rewarded and recognised accordingly, and if they underperform, that they can and should be dismissed and not the Dana Seetahal’s fight to defend the few rogue elements based on “industrial relations”.
In my short tenure as National Security Minister, I have encountered several such defenders of inanity, which include:
• Being criticised by some who are upset that I am stopping gangs from getting State contracts as they have defended them by saying “that is their democratic right”
• Being criticised by some who say that I should not prevent tens of thousands of persons entering our country and remaining illegally, with no source of income, no employment, nowhere to live, upon which they can probably turn to a life of crime, as they state that I am being biased and selfish by wanting to look after the interest of my own nationals.
• Being criticised by some for me saying that the police need to be rewarded more and this method would reduce, not eliminate but reduce, corruption, which is a scientific fact worldwide.
• Being criticised by some because I have devised a strategy to have citizens provide information in a secure avenue through ViPO, which would protect them whilst making them a law-abiding citizen in reducing crime, as some have said that I should not do that as this “is not my job”, even though citizens are refusing to give information because they do not have such an avenue.
• Being criticised for travelling at my own expense and meeting with agencies such as former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton, who reduced major crime in several cities worldwide, to assist us in proper utilisation of Compstat (Computerised Statistics), which we have not used effectively as we should, and to implement similar policies that were utilised to ensure better management and accountability of the Police Service, better crime scene investigation and DNA labs for improved detection rate, and a faster and more effective response to crime to provide greater deterrents, but some have been naive enough to say that we do not need such assistance as we have the ability to do it here.
There are many who fear change or are apprehensive about those who attempt to introduce change, with that apprehension turning into attacks. So to those who see everything half-empty and intend to spend their time in telling me what powers I do not have, I hereby quote my Commander-in-chief by saying that “the powers that you feel that I do not have, I actually do”.
And this has nothing to do with the duties of a Minister of National Security but as a citizen with the will and who intends to cause change for the well-being of the law-abiding citizens of this country. I have every intention to continue to do what needs to be done and would advise those who choose to persist to lay in waiting to criticise—that I have only just begun.
Minister of National Security