NEWLY-APPOINTED Minister of National Security, Gary Griffith, yesterday said he had no intention of politicising crime-fighting.
Instead, he intends to take into consideration recommendations from anyone who believed their input could put a dent on the crime scourge.
“What I hope for is that we circle the wagon. I have no intention to try to politicise crime because I would be looking at all the different recommendations from all aspects of this country whether it is the PNM, the ILP or the UNC.
“I intend also to speak a lot with the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), the different organisations or anybody who feel they want to be part of this,” said Griffith.
He was speaking yesterday at President’s House, St Ann’s after taking the oath of office to serve as this country’s fourth Minister of National Security under the People’s Partnership Government.
The former national security ministers are Brigadier John Sandy, Jack Warner and Emmanuel George. George has replaced Christlyn Moore as Minister of Justice.
Also receiving their instruments of appointment from President Anthony Carmona yesterday were businessman Gerald Hadeed, who replaced Jamal Mohammed as Minister of Communications and Raziah Ahmed, who was appointed as Minister in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, during this Government’s third Cabinet reshuffle since 2010.
“In order to have a proper crime plan is to speak with all parties, all individuals, the NGOs, Fixin’ T&T, there are many and we are hoping that I get as much information and guidance as possible and then move forward.
“This is not just above blimps and OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) and SAUTT. It takes much more than that to reduce crime,” said Griffith.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who was in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony, defended her decision to appoint George as the new Minister of Justice despite him not having a legal background.
“There is no requirement in law for the Justice Minister to be a lawyer. There is no requirement in law for any other minister. The only minister where you would want to mandate the minister to be a lawyer is the Attorney General.
“The other ministers holding portfolios, for example the Minister of Housing, does not have to be a house constructor, the minister of drainage does not have to be a drainage engineer,” she said.
Questioned on the criticisms made by the Opposition that the reshuffle would fail, Persad-Bissessar said: “What do you expect them to say? They are there to get my job, to take the place of the government, so I don’t expect them to say the reshuffle will work.
“They will say it will not work and they will hope that it does not work so that they can replace us. If I were in Opposition I probably would have said the same,” said Persad-Bissessar.