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Williams: Return of Flying Squad claims being investigated
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams says an investigation is ongoing into claims that the Flying Squad is back in operation. In an interview with the T&T Guardian on February 1, retired police inspector Mervyn Cordner claimed Minister of National Security Jack Warner approached him to head the covert unit.
At a press briefing held yesterday at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, Williams said the matter could not be investigated like a crime. “It is information coming to your hand and you want to make some clear determination,” he said. Is there something which is criminal involved in this, or is there something which is illegal, is there something which must be effectively addressed?
“So it is being investigated to collate the type of information,” Williams said. Saying he had deliberately stayed away from commenting on the matter, Williams said he had not heard Cordner mention his office or his name in a direct way. “The gentleman has had no engagement with me,” Williams insisted.
He said while the matter had engaged the full attention of the media, no questions were being asked about its legality. “And if we start to think about lawful conduct, somebody coming to the media saying, ‘I am carrying out a function and I am carrying out that function without any legal clarity,’ why is it no one is asking, ‘So why are you doing this illegal thing?’” Williams asked.
A report in the Sunday Guardian of February 3 quoted Cordner as saying that the Flying Squad, which was disbanded in the 1980s, was revived in July 2012 and has been working out of a building at Factory Road, Golden Grove, Arouca. According to the report, Cordner said a crime plan was submitted to National Security Minister Jack Warner and a budget of $180 million requested to carry out operations for a period of two years. He said a lack of funding had stymied the work of the unit.
The report also quoted Cordner as saying that the Flying Squad comprises 75 retired officers who previously worked at various state enterprises that include the police, Prisons Service, Immigration Division, Telecommunication Authority and the T&T Electricity Commission.
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