Nacta: Trinis Like Police Commissioner Griffith

Nacta: Trinis Like Police Commissioner Griffith
Photo : Gary Griffith

A new opinion poll conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association over the last couple of weeks reveals high approval ratings for the job that Police Commissioner (PC) Gary Griffith has been doing since he was appointed to the position some six months ago. The poll finds that the PC has higher job approval ratings than government and opposition political figures. And while the nation is still worried about high levels of crime and feels the government needs to do more to combat this menace, crime is no longer the leading issue that concerns people. Crime has been displaced by corruption as the most serious problem facing the country.

The poll was conducted by Dr. Vishnu Bisram with 540 respondents to reflect the demographics of the population (40% Indian, 38% African, 20% Mixed and 2% other ethnic groups). The findings have a margin of error of 4%.

Asked what is the most serious problem facing the country, 32% said corruption, 29% crime, 15% racism, 10% poor governance, and other issues (like health care, infrastructure, etc.) or no response 14%.

Photo : Dr. Vishnu Bisram

Asked if they approve or disapprove of the performance of the Police Commissioner (Gary Griffith), the numbers are 72%-17%; 11% offered neutral rating or no response. This marked the highest level of job approval of a police commissioner in the country in recent times. Many say he is the best PC since Randolph Burrowes in cracking down on crime. The recent drug busts, targeting criminal enterprises, arresting high profile criminals, and his on the job street activism have contributed to Griffith’s high poll numbers. However, there is a disconnect between the job performance of the PC and that of the police force. While people are pleased with the job of the PC and trust his judgment, and describing him as honest, they do not feel the same about police with many saying they do not feel safe in their neighborhoods and areas where they work. People are displeased (82%-12%) with the performance of the police force. They do not trust the police. Respondents say some in the police are involved in criminal activities. One positive, however, aspect of the police force is people have confidence in Griffith to transform it to do a more effective job.

On a separate issue, respondents by a large margin oppose (61%-19%) the government’s handling of relations with the Maduro regime in Venezuela with 20% saying they are not sure). Some feel the government should not have sent a representative to Maduro’s swearing in last January. Trinis overwhelmingly (70%-18%) support humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan immigrants with 12% not offering an opinion. Respondents complain that the government has not been doing much to assist fleeing Venezuelans who are in T&T.