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PNM senator Faris Al-Rawi: AG must clear the air on Jack’s behaviour
Newly-appointed National Security Minister Jack Warner could be slapped with a misbehaviour in public office charge along with a lawsuit for damages. Police and members of the Defence Force who accompanied Warner yesterday could also be held accountable for damages, said PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi yesterday.
And if government ministers and the armed forces do not carry out their functions according to the law and respect due process, then the country could be headed for a totalitarian police state, Al-Rawi warned. Soldiers and police, led by Warner, demolished the Highway Re-route Movement campsite at the M2 Ring Road in Debe yesterday.
Al-Rawi, an attorney, also called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to “immediately clear the air” on Warner’s behaviour yesterday. “The Attorney General, as the titular head of the bar, cannot remain silent. He has got to come out and say what the law is, to come out and make heavy pronouncements on this matter. “The Prime Minister has also got to become involved and she must not remain silent.
“Everyone wants to get rid of crime, but no one can ever support the breaching of the law to get there, and the integrity of the law must be jealously guarded at all times.” Saying Warner had placed himself in “grave jeopardy,” Al-Rawi emphasised that the role of a government minister was confined to policy and must never engage in raids with the police.
“This is a ground for serious action and it makes the police, army and even the minister immediately subject to being sued.” The might of the State, Al-Rawi added, must always be balanced and kept in check by due process of the law. “If we don’t carefully guard the separation-of-powers principle and uphold the due process of law, then the country is headed into a totalitarian police state.”
Don’t judge Jack–Ragoonath
Political scientist Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said citizens should not be too quick to criticise or castigate Warner. However, Ragoonath said he did not believe the demolition of the protesters’ campsite was the place where Warner ought to be, especially as a government minister.
“But I will not condemn or castigate him either,” Ragoonath said, adding, “I have seen many occasions where other ministers have been present on roadblocks—so what is the difference with Jack Warner? “Other types of activities were done by other ministers or officers of the State and I have not heard a single complaint. There are other instances where other ministers have accompanied police officers in carrying out particular duties. “And now Jack Warner is being accused of misbehaviour in public office?”
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