Police have identified one man as the architect behind yesterday’s protests in Port-of-Spain and networked to different areas throughout the country.
In an exclusive interview on CNC3 yesterday, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith said one man co-ordinated with other gang leaders to create the mayhem that unfolded yesterday.
“There was a deliberate plot. There was a certain individual, we have intelligence that he was the mastermind, was liaising with other gang-leaders, speaking with them, co-ordinating with them and then standing up there and pretending that he was God’s gift and trying to make everything right and pure,” Griffith said.
Griffith said one person with a small political party was inciting the violence and then standing by and waiting to be interviewed for public relations purposes.
“I want to ask the public, please don’t be influenced by those who have their specific agenda. You will see him standing up where those protests are hoping that they could get some media coverage, hoping that they’d be interviewed. They have an agenda,” he said.
While Griffith did not call names, he said the person he was referring to did not belong to either of the two main political parties.
He said those “individuals” were linked to gang members.
“If the gang members are affiliated or working with anyone, that remains to be seen,” he said.
He said that the individuals, who are senior gang members orchestrated yesterday’s mayhem.
Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith.
“They went into hiding, they went into their little operation centre throughout the day,” he said.
Griffith said to look out for the people calling themselves “activists” and “politicians”.
“I am speaking about the individuals who have no support and they think to get support is to hate the police, attack the police, demonise the police,” he said.
He said it was this action that put police lives at risk. Griffith also warned that there was more to come. “The operation is definitely not over,” he said.
The plan of the protest, Griffith said, was to destabilize the country. With regards to the report that there is an almost 90 per cent increase in police killings, Griffith said more people were shooting at officers.
“When we arrest over 7,000 persons in five years, for an illegal firearm and every time we arrest them, they get back out unto the streets,” he said.
“They are the ones who walk around with a firearm and know they would get bail the other day,” he said.
“They have become so bold and arrogant, they shoot at police officers,” he said.
Griffith said if there was an increase, it was not because the police were just shooting at people, it was because more people were shooting at officers, forcing them to return fire.
“We are not the ones drawing first blood,” he said.
“It stops today, we are not going to allow criminal elements to feel like you can control any area, any block, any community and then play the blame game,” he said.
“When the investigation is complete and I give the assurance to the public, as I have stated over and over again, I am not going to condone any rogue element or police officer that would abuse their authority,” he said.
“We are not the enemy,” Griffith said.