NATIONAL Security Minister Gary Griffith is awaiting further information from the police regarding the names of gang members and their leaders so he can pass the information along in a bid to stop gangsters from being awarded State contracts.
In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Griffith said he spoke with acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams who provided him with the names of gangs and their areas of operation. Griffith said the list is based specifically on the police intelligence and would be a guide to State agencies in reviewing the prospective contractors.
Asked if the list would be made public, Griffith said doing that would be prejudicial to the gangsters. He said the aim of compiling a list is not so that those on it would not be given contracts but rather that the list would be of those who ought not to be given a contract. He said if the gangsters are given contracts by the State then the State would inadvertently be aiding and abetting criminal activity by awarding the contracts to them.
Griffith said the aim was not to take away contracts from existing contractors but to stop contractors that are involved either directly as they themselves are gangsters or indirectly as they are being used by the gangsters, from gaining contracts.
Asked about the possibility of a tainted list so that those affiliated with other political parties would be denied contracts on the basis that they are on the police’s “blacklist”,
Griffith said the list would be from the Police Service and may not be given to politicians since they do not award contracts. The minister said based on information provided by the police they will know who have turned their lives around and do business with the State from those still involved in illegal activity. Griffith said this is the first time that a government has taken such a firm stance on treating with criminality.
Managing Director of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Jearlean John on Wednesday called on Williams to identify the gangsters.
Williams had said on Monday said he knew who the gangsters in the country were.
Griffith had initially raised the issue of gangsters being given State contracts in the Senate two weeks ago. Since then there has been much discussion on which gangster has been given which State contract.
Griffith said he is not concerned with the award of contracts in the past but his main issue is that in the future those who are hell bent on living lives of criminality ought not to be contracted by the State.
In a brief telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Williams said he as the top cop would and should know who the gangsters were.
Asked if he submitted the information to his line minister Griffith, Williams said he would not comment and would not comment either on the compilation of a “blacklist” since that was not within his purview as CoP. At the weekly police news briefing yesterday, public information officer of the Police Service Ag Insp Wayne Mystar said gangsters have been arrested in the past.
Asked why hadn’t the gangsters who were named to the relevant authorities as he described it, been arrested, he said in the past they were.