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Trinidad: Police Commissioner issues warning to criminals as political party warns against police state

By CMC

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Police Commissioner Gary Griffith in blue (Left) with police officers on patrol recently (File Photo)

(CMC) – Police Commissioner Gary Griffith Monday confirmed that death threats have been made against the lives of police officers involved in last week shootout that left five people dead, but warned that the police would not back down in the fight against crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a statement, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) said also that it is also ”investigating threats of bombs being planted at police stations across the country, following an anonymous call to E999 earlier today”.

The statement said that Assistant Commissioner of ­Police (Ag) Anthony James has been assigned to lead investigations into the shooting, where five persons, including two teenagers, were killed, following a shootout with police officers in Laventille along the east-west corridor last Thursday.

The statement said Griffith has confirmed the death threats being made against the police officers involved in the shoot-out, but he later told the media here that he was warning the criminals against any plan to engage the police.

Griffith, a former national security minister and a captain in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, said criminals could not bully law-abiding citizens.

“As it pertains to comments to harm a police officer, let anyone put God past their thoughts and touch one of my officers. I have not even entered the ring as yet,” Griffith told NEWSDAY newspaper here.

“Let every criminal out there who has an illegal firearm know that I am just warming up. But again I wish to emphasise all of our actions will be within the law,” he added.

Meanwhile, the small opposition Movement of Social Justice (MSJ) warned that the country could slowly descend into a police state.

“We should not become so fearful of the crime situation or so angry about the crime and violence that we accept what could become a police state,” MSJ leader, David Abdulah said.

He said while the MSJ is not condoning criminal activities or violence, it wanted nonetheless to indicate that a police state is not the solution to solve crime.

Abdulah said the solution to the crime problem involved the criminal justice system which, he said, was failing the country.

“And it is failing because the police cannot arrest and convict anyone. More than 90 per cent of murders are unsolved . The court system is failing because 500 people are in jail awaiting trial,” he added.

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