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Gary’s wife wants Erla, Jacob to answer: Did you tap my phone?

Martin George & Company > Newspaper Articles  > Gary’s wife wants Erla, Jacob to answer: Did you tap my phone?

Gary’s wife wants Erla, Jacob to answer: Did you tap my phone?

Gary’s wife wants Erla, Jacob to answer: Did you tap my phone?

The wife of National Transformation Alliance’s (NTA) Political Leader Gary Griffith is challenging the Commissioner of Police (CoP) to break her silence and reveal if the T&T Police Service (TTPS) intercepted communications to her personal mobile device.

Speaking at the NTA’s meeting in Diego Martin on Wednesday night, Nicole Dyer-Griffith said she and her husband were reliably informed that her cellular phone was a target of the TTPS.

“A whistleblower brought to Gary and my attention that politicians were allegedly instructing law enforcement officials to target political opponents, using technology that was acquired to deal with criminal activity to target criminals. One of these involved wire-tapping or interception of telephone devices under what is called the Interception of Communication Act. And this essentially gives the sole authority to wire-tap your telephone and that authority comes from the Chief of Defence Staff, the Commissioner of Police, or the director of another organisation. But it cannot be done on whim and fancy as there must be justifiable cause, there must be intelligence or evidence to trigger such interception,” Dyer-Griffith said to those in attendance.  

She added that given Gary Griffith’s acrimonious relationship and history with some members of the Government, it was not surprising that he has become a major political opponent. However, for her to also be a target is something the entire nation should be concerned about, she said.

“It means that anyone seen as a political opponent of this Government can have their communications on their personal devices intercepted via the Government’s abuse of this process,” she claimed.

Dyer-Griffith revealed that she turned to the court in order to find out if, in fact, this was true. However, the matter was dismissed.

“Now, what transpired a few days ago is that this matter was thrown out of the court. It was dismissed on the grounds of it being hearsay. Never mind the fact that we provided the alleged date this was to have taken place, never mind the fact we provided phone numbers where this was alleged to have taken place, never mind the fact that my attorneys have written to the CoP to ask did ‘you intercept the telephone device of Nicole Dyer-Griffith?’ No response. Up to now it has been ignored, up to now there’s no feedback,” Dyer-Griffith explained.

In an interview yesterday with Guardian Media, Dyer-Griffith said they were first made aware of the possible phone-tapping in mid-2022. She said since then, they have been trying to get a response from the TTPS, particularly from McDonald Jacob, who was acting commissioner then, and now from the current top cop.

Dyer-Griffith said they sought the court’s intervention but days ago, on July 31, her matter was dismissed.

Her attorney Martin George also released a statement yesterday, seeking to further explain what transpired.

“We wrote to the Commissioner of Police requesting information indicating what had been told to Mrs Griffith and asking whether her phone was being tapped or not, we got no response. We wrote again, but we got no response again.

“We filed the constitutional motion based on the information we had. The judge, however, dismissed it because the State, instead of responding and indicating whether the phone had been tapped or not, sought to engage in shenanigans and chicanery and said that basically if you can’t provide the evidence to prove that the phones are tapped then you have no case or claim before us,” George said via a video message.

He added that the matter was heard before Justice Karen Reid.

George questioned how the court expected a civilian to produce such evidence.

“The question that arises is how would an ordinary member of the public obtain that information which is resident in the bosom and belly of the Police Service. Under the Interception of Communications Act, there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled before you can engage in tapping the phone of a citizen. So therefore, that information must be there within the Police Service, if you tapped the phone and if you didn’t, then the easiest thing would be to come out and say no,” George said.

Dyer-Griffith used the NTA’s political platform to again ask the CoP if the TTPS is tampering with her personal mobile phone.

“I would like to put it to the Commissioner of Police, even though this transpired under former commissioner of police McDonald Jacob, Erla Christopher has to answer, I put it to you madam Commissioner, ‘Did you intercept my telephone devices? Were you aware of the interception taking place? Yes or no, it’s a simple answer.’”  

Guardian Media reached out to Jacob who declined to answer. Questions were also sent to both the CoP and Minister of National Security however, neither of them responded.

Meanwhile, NTA leader Griffith closed the meeting by defending Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s controversial “empty the clip” comments. Griffith claimed that the Prime Minister and People’s National Movement (PNM) object to the proposed ‘stand your ground’ laws and legal gun ownership because they would rather the scales be tipped in the favour of criminals.

Gary’s wife wants Erla, Jacob to answer:Did you tap my phone?

BY: AKASH SAMAROO

Guardian Newspaper Trinidad and Tobago

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