There is a Chinese cartel operating in this country, which sees numerous Chinese restaurants being used as fronts for illegal gambling, Police commissioner Gary Griffith has said.
“There are more Chinese restaurants than houses in some places, so some of these things have been used as fronts for illegal gambling,” he said.
Griffith made the statement during an interview on i955fm’s Take Two Sunday programme with hosts Dominic Kalipersad and Roger Lee.
He said the Organised Crime and Intelligence Unit of the Police Service was dealing with both local gangs and foreign gangs operating in T&T.
Griffith said while the two main foreign gangs operating here are the Chinese and the Venezuelans, there are also pockets of Colombians and Mexicans.
Griffith said the information about the Chinese cartels was not intended to encourage xenophobia and make the public believe that every Chinese restaurant is involved in illegal activity.
“My job is not to make your fearful but for us to be careful,” he said.
Griffith said having police officers just going to these places and charging them for illegal gambling was counterproductive as the fines are minuscule.
He estimated that the illegal gambling business was worth $3 billion here.
Griffith apologised to Kalipersad who he had an earlier on-air spat with during a television interview on TV6.
Griffith said he was not angry with the media but rather is just passionate.
“I wish to give the assurance that I never make decisions when I am angry. I was trained in the best military academy in the world. I have faced the wrath of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) when I was in the United Kingdom at Sandhurst,” Griffth said.
“I was the youngest officer at the attempted coup, as soon as I returned we were under fire, I spent six months with the United Nations in Haiti so the things like this, a citizen or a media reporter telling me something that is a joke compared,” Griffith said.
“So you’re not really vex?” Kalipersad asked.
“No it is just that I am passionate,” Griffith responded.
“So you don’t really have a beef with the media anymore?” Kalipersad asked.
“Not at all I never did,” he said.
Griffith said some persons perceive his passion in a wrong manner.
Griffith said he would do everything in his power to ensure the country is made a better place even if the statistics do not reflect it immediately.
“I promise that we will be in a better place on August 31 (the anniversary of his appointment) to how we were last year, I do not intend to fail, I intend to do all that is required but sometimes we have to bleed to heal,” Griffith said.
“I could easily sit back negotiate with criminal elements, not drive forward and do what is required and try to hope that the statistics would show something, I do not operate like that,” he said.
Griffith said every murder that takes place here affects him personally.
“Every single time there is a homicide I take it personally, so it affects me personally because I see myself as being responsible,” he said.
- by Joel Julien