THE EDITOR: I welcome the choice of Gary Griffith as Commissioner of Police (CoP), along with so many others who have, for the simple reason that he seems well qualified for the job, which is to return this country to some peace and tranquillity away from the rampant criminality in which it has found itself.
Surely he may have his shortcomings for which there will always be critics, but out of such inevitable criticism are emerging some vibrations which make for interesting reading and debate.
One member of the Opposition would have acknowledged in the media that the Prime Minister made a “good defence of Griffith for the post” and would have also admitted with another that he had made an error in toeing the line and abstaining with other members and would have preferred a conscience vote which would have been in Griffith’s favour.
All this seems to point to the need for a proactive, knowledgeable approach which Griffith seems able to provide, but already the politics is creeping into the picture with some suggesting that the knowledge he possesses of the UNC is a major reason for his appointment, giving the PNM a decided advantage in its traditional wrangling with the UNC.
On the UNC side one wonders at its politics in abstaining, considering the present crime status of the country. But the UNC should have no worry about its traditional base for issues never really matter with this group and it will vote for the party nevertheless.
But in the context of being the alternative government for the next election, what of the reaction of non-partisan voters to the UNC’s negation of a move to stop crime, which its abstention is, in essence?
For the latter the only conclusion is that for the UNC strategic and critical thinking is a no-no, with them when it comes to the real needs of the country, and that the politics of being anti-PNM, as in this vote, is all that matters, if even the country has to go down the drain.
Their rational for abstaining, refusing to vote in a flawed process, principled as it may seem, is weak and convenient when one considers that the overriding consideration is the benefit of the people, which a vote for Griffith would have been. It’s a sad reflection of the character of our politicians in the context of truly serving all the people.
And then to the police. Their initial hardline objection to Griffith – that he is not suited to the task of harnessing the police to the cause because of the cultural upheaval which he would bring from the military – is simplistic at best, for many successful CoPs have not been “police” per se.
To insinuate that for success the choice must be from the ranks of the police is to disregard our present state, even with one from the ranks, and one wonders whether there is a less than honourable motive of protecting and preserving the status quo and all its shortcomings, which a proactive “intruder” like Griffith is bound to upset.
But the reported retraction of one senior officer and change of heart among others is perhaps a sense of their recognition of the error of their ways and that Griffith will have their full support in the daunting task ahead.
It’s now or never for we are at the brink of a precipice, and there is no time for vacillation.
DR ERROL BENJAMIN via e-mail