NATIONAL Security Minister Gary Griffith has labelled Carnival 2014 as “the safest Carnival ever” and, as a result of this feat under his watch, says he is “the happiest minister alive”.
Griffith and an entourage of Trinidad and Tobago’s law enforcement elite yesterday walked through the streets of the capital city.
The walk began at 9 a.m. outside the Police Administration Building, at the corners of Edward and Sackville Streets, in Port of Spain.
Accompanying Griffith were acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, Chief of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj and director of the National Operations Centre Garvin Heerah, along with senior officials under their respective commands.
The entourage crossed the stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah around 10.55 a.m.
“Usually, the Commissioner of Police, the Chief of Defence Staff and other relevant heads of the Ministry of National Security...they will actually walk around to different parts of the streets of Port of Spain, just to ensure that everything is in place and everything is working according to the operational plan,” Griffith said.
“As Minister of National Security, I always believe in leadership by example, and you cannot have the troops do something you will not do yourself, so what I am doing is actually walking with the heads and also invited the Chief Fire Officer, who has a very big part to play,” he added.
Acting Chief Fire Officer Nayar Rampersad was part of the entourage.
Griffith said the Fire Service, and its crowd control, form an essential part of a safe Carnival season.
He said Williams and Maharaj had both performed “ absolutely brilliant”.
“What we have done is also take away that perception and fear of crime, based on the heavy visibility. I mean, it has been absolutely brilliant the way the Commissioner of Police, Chief of Defence Staff, how they have operated.
“I wish to honour and really commend each and every law enforcement official for how they have operated. They have been very professional; they have done their job and doing their job, not just in ensuring a sense of stability and safety throughout the country but just by that visible presence, that rapid response, the tactical strategies they have used throughout, being put in specific locations to provide that deterrent and take away that perception and fear of crime, which is sometimes just as important as the reduction of crime itself,” Griffith said.
He said the success of Carnival 2014 is testament to the fact that “crime plans” do not work.
“This has been the safest Carnival ever and it shows the importance, once again, when people talk about crime plans, the days of crime plans are over. This has proven what I am speaking about—politicians, our job is to provide policies, policies such as ensuring the financial, administrative and logistic support for the agencies, and policies to provide the framework so that when the experts, who are the heads of the protective services, they are the ones who operationalise the policies that we speak about, that is how you deal with national security, and what we are seeing this Carnival season has confirmed that fact,” he added.
“So once this continues, as I said, this has been the safest Carnival, and after Tuesday night, I will be the happiest minister alive,” he said.