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Griffith’s got PP’s jack to hang?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Can insider Gary Griffith so decimate the ministerial line-up of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s cabinet with allegations of a serious nature that the PM would be forced to call the general election before she had planned to avoid being overtaken by a succession of damaging events? On the surface it seems unlikely that the PM would “cut off her nose to spoil her face,” more so in these times of seeking to use her beauty and hot soca/chutney wear to impress.

However, if Ag Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams follows the pattern of action he took in the matter of the allegations by David West, supported by Gary Griffith against attorney general Anand Ramlogan, and begins criminal investigations into the allegations against Vasant Bharrat, supposedly witnessed by Roodal Moonilal and then Ag Prime Minister, Errol McLeod, the PM would be challenged not to move the ministers out of the way of criminal investigations.

“I cannot and will not sit idly by while the Office of the Attorney General and that of the Minister of National Security and the head of the Police Complaints Authority are being compromised and brought into disrepute by such allegations that have warranted a police enquiry.” If she does not follow her rationale as stated above and take action based on “what is best for the nation” she is likely to face another political shellacking for acting only when it is politically convenient to do so.

If this most recent Griffith allegation is taken seriously, the PM will first have to conduct an inquiry amongst the ministers fingered to get their side of the story. If not satisfied with their explanation she will have to move them out of the way lest she incriminates herself in police business.

It could be interesting to see what Moonilal and McLeod, who Griffith alleged did not directly participate in the attempt to have him change his story, but were nevertheless in the room, have to say. Would they “take one for the team” with Bharrat and any denials he may make; or would they, if Griffith is speaking truth, attempt to get themselves out of a stinging nettle bush? This could be jail and big fines!

It is entirely possible though that faced with the implications of another round of firings and reshuffling and in the absence of what she may consider substantive evidence, the PM will scoff at the Griffith allegations. She will dig-in on the side of her trusted senior ministers and cross her fingers and hope that Griffith has been overtaken by anger at his sacking and is now bent on fabrication in revenge for what he must consider his “unjustified dismissal.” 

Nonetheless, it must be going through the mind of PM Persad-Bissessar the experience of her predecessor. Hogtied and forced to the polls by an avalanche of public and political criticism in which he was said to be centrally involved, Patrick Manning could seek release only in fresh elections. Will this PM reach such a position? 

But who is this marauding Gary Griffith, threatening to sack the Prime Minister and her cabinet in the manner that Genghis Khan and his Mongolians devastated Asia, and what is his agenda? Griffith first came to national attention in the Basdeo Panday government when he was head of the Prime Ministerial household. There were stories of amorous linkages then, as there have been now. Only recently he admitted to returning home.

Even when he was in the job of adviser to the PM on security matters, he seemed enthusiastic to carry out the anti-crime narrative. He talked his way into the job of minister after the PM seemed short of options having tried a retired defence force chief, a Fifa jefe and a public servant.

From almost his first day in office, Griffith made known not only his army background, but his academic qualifications in anti-crime studies. He became a media go-to-man; he talked big; threatened to bring down the criminal establishment; brought his action-oriented army officers into the fray; and warned criminals that the security forces not joking and defended them when it became necessary to do so.  

Through all of this Griffith seemed loyal to his Prime Minister, his cabinet colleagues and the PP government. There are those who would now say he lacks credibility as he was part of the establishment for a long time and kept quiet. But in fairness to him, Griffith did blow the whistle on the corruption in LifeSport with minister Anil Roberts when even the Prime Minister remained quiet.    

His love for the “truth” and not wanting to stain his tongue and soul, he says, are central to his refusal to change his story and to be fearful. Another Sandhurst graduate told me that Griffith’s training at the British military academy has given him the stuffing necessary to take on the Prime Minister and her team.  

The dynamics of the allegations have serious implications for the Prime Minister and her government; that is if they turn out to be based on truth which can be verified and tested in court.  


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