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Trinidad police commissioner promises not to interfere with Buju and company again

By Peter Christopher

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Police Commissioner Gary Griffith strikes a pose with Jamaican reggae artiste Buju Banton after meeting him at the Hilton Trinidad Saturday night. Griffith met with Banton to assure him that the rest of his stay in T&T would be comfortable after officer raided Banton’s hotel room hours before. * TTPS photo

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Hours af­ter de­fend­ing his of­fi­cers’ de­ci­sion to search the ho­tel room of Bu­ju Ban­ton, Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith met with the Ja­maican reg­gae artiste to as­sure him of­fi­cers will not in­ter­fere with him or mem­bers of his en­tourage again.

In a re­lease, the TTPS said Grif­fith met with Ban­ton, whose re­al name is Mark Myrie, at Hilton Trinidad to in­di­cate that he (Grif­fith) was aware of the “em­bar­rass­ment, anx­i­ety and in­con­ve­nience” which the ear­li­er search of Ban­ton’s room had caused. Fur­ther­more, the CoP as­sured Ban­ton that the rest of his stay in T&T would be in­ci­dent free.

Grif­fith as­sured Ban­ton that the search was not a per­son­al at­tack on him­self or his en­tourage. Ad­dress­ing the ac­tu­al search of Ban­ton’s room on Sat­ur­day, Grif­fith said of­fi­cers of the Or­gan­ised Crime and In­tel­li­gence Unit (OCIU) had re­ceived cer­tain in­tel­li­gence which led them to search the artiste’s room. The CoP, how­ev­er, said he was con­cerned that the in­tel­li­gence was flawed, as noth­ing was found.

Ban­ton im­me­di­ate­ly took to his In­sta­gram page af­ter the raid, post­ing a video.

“I just re­alised some­thing, I’m chill­ing in my ho­tel room and the cops came to check me. A whole bunch of them say­ing they got a war­rant to search my room and all them kind of stuff,” Ban­ton said.

“How can you ob­tain a search war­rant for a ho­tel room on a Sat­ur­day?”

Ban­ton said de­spite the in­ci­dent he still had love for Trinidad and To­ba­go.

“I just want to know, no mat­ter what they can’t break us we see what’s go­ing on. We just want you to know what’s go­ing on. We see what you’re plan­ning,” he said.

When con­tact­ed mo­ments af­ter the in­ci­dent, Grif­fith con­firmed of­fi­cers con­duct­ed the search and noth­ing il­le­gal was found in the room. The CoP was re­luc­tant to give in­for­ma­tion as to what in­spired the search of the reg­gae singer’s room.

“So be­cause it’s high pro­file the po­lice ser­vice should not be in­volved in con­duct­ing search­es and war­rants?” Grif­fith asked about the raid.

Grif­fith said the po­lice were well with­in their rights to con­duct a search of the singer’s room.

“This is not an abuse of au­thor­i­ty, this is what po­lice do. And this is what we have done over the last 50 years and will con­tin­ue to do,” he said, adding the ac­tion was proof that the po­lice was non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry in their ap­proach.

Ban­ton was con­vict­ed in 2011 of con­spir­a­cy to pos­sess co­caine with the in­tent to dis­trib­ute. He was re­leased from a Unit­ed States prison last De­cem­ber. This con­vic­tion meant he re­quired an ex­emp­tion from Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty to en­ter the coun­try to per­form for Sun­day’s I Am Leg­end con­cert, which he is set to head­line.

This article was posted in its entirety as received by This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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