Griffith gives thumbs up for National Security allocation

He was responding to the presentation of the 2016 / 2017 national budget by Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday. For another year National Security received the highest allocation in the 2016/2017 budgets with $7.6 billion but was slashed by about $3 billion compared to last year. In the 2015/2016 budget the ministry received $10.81 billion which was $6.994 billion compared to the previous year.

While speaking on national security, Imbert reported that Government recently approved $117 million for major equipment to upgrade the intelligence gathering efforts of the police, for evidence gathering and law enforcement capabilities.

Griffith, speaking during a telephone interview yesterday, said the Finance Minister “spent two minutes glossing over National Security and it would be impractical for anyone pro or against the budget to make any constructive comment”.

He pointed to the reduction and questioned if it was solely based on recurrent expenditure like salaries and maintenance of vehicles or injection of serious assets demanded by law enforcement agencies.

He spoke specifically of the 360 degree radar which required more than $400 million to be properly upgraded, the Coast Guard requiring 500 sailors to man asset acquisitions and the Armoured Personnel Carriers (an initiative he started while in office) which the army was “pleading for” because they recognise the threat of terrorism and gang related incidents.

He added that the Coast Guard requires interceptors and old helicopters needed replacing.

“I do not know if that is part of the budget.

It cannot be just recurrent expenditure.

It must be more than that,” he stressed.

Griffith, however, did praise the $117 million for intelligence apparatus as “excellent”.

“We have been way behind the eight ball for too long in terms of intelligence gathering,” he added. He said this will assist in improving detection rates.

He stressed however, that Government has to ensure that assets which are urgently needed will be provided.

Attempts to contact National Security Minister Edmund Dillon by telephone yesterday were unsuccessful


"Griffith gives thumbs up for National Security allocation"

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