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T&T | After the Raid, Buju invited the Police Commish on Stage

Buju Banton and Gary Griffith at Sunday night's concert Buju Banton and Gary Griffith at Sunday night's concert
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, April 23, 2019 - Former National Security Minister, now Police Commissioner Gary Griffith appeared on stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday, with Jamaica Reggae superstar Buju Banton at his ‘I Am Legend Concert’, in a clear attempt at damage control following the police raid on the Jamaican Reggae artiste’s hotel room.

In a statement, Griffith said had not done so, it would have re­sult­ed in a strained re­la­tion­ship be­tween T&T and Ja­maica.

His com­ments came hours af­ter he was crit­i­cised on so­cial me­dia for ap­pear­ing at Ban­ton’s con­cert at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, Port-of-Spain, stat­ing that he was just look­ing for fame and to score points.

But the police commissioner, in a ‘WhatsApp’ message to media personnel, said he was invited by the Jamaican Reggae Star to join him on stage.

Griffith lambasted his detractors whom he described as immature and ignorant, pointing out that it was not his aim to please persons who are jealous or have tunnel vision, but rather those who are patriotic, possess humility and responsibility and would put country first.

On Sat­ur­day, the Ja­maican reg­gae star's room at the Hilton Trinidad was searched without any success by mem­bers of the Or­gan­ised Crime and In­tel­li­gence Unit (OCIU), who claimed they had a warrant to search the room.

This in­ci­dent, Grif­fith said “was set to cause a ma­jor rift be­tween our coun­try and Ja­maica. This was be­cause of a poor pro­ce­dure by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) in the con­duct of the search. Hence the TTPS may have been di­rect­ly re­spon­si­ble for such a rift,” Grif­fith stat­ed.

Grif­fith has since an­nounced a ma­jor over­haul of the OCIU fol­low­ing the raid. He said the of­fi­cers did not car­ry out prop­er sur­veil­lance be­fore act­ing.

Hours af­ter the in­ci­dent, Grif­fith met with the reg­gae singer where he apol­o­gised and gave the as­sur­ance that the re­main­der of Ban­ton’s vis­it would be peace­ful and in­ci­dent-free.

GaryGriffithBujuBasnton 460
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

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.

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 asked.

Dur­ing the con­cert, Grif­fith promised Ban­ton that T&T and Ja­maica would re­main “al­lies for­ev­er.”

Grif­fith al­so ad­vised those who were more con­cerned about na­tion­al pop­u­lar­i­ty to put their en­er­gies where it can be bet­ter val­ued.

“Had I not done this, re­la­tions be­tween both coun­tries could have been se­vere­ly af­fect­ed.

“Pos­si­ble boy­cotts of our prod­ucts and oth­er pri­vate sec­tor sanc­tions were al­so on the ta­ble. If oth­ers are not aware or care about this due to ego over com­mon sense, I can­not help that.”

If his ac­tions af­fect­ed some peo­ple but helped to bridge the gap be­tween the two Caribbean coun­tries, Grif­fith said he felt sor­ry for them.

“I did what was need­ed to be done. Not to please those who have noth­ing bet­ter to do oth­er than crit­i­cise due to their in­abil­i­ty to un­der­stand the big­ger pic­ture.

“If oth­ers are up­set, then they should re­port it to the en­ter­tain­ment po­lice.”

  • Countries: Trinidad_Tobago

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