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Partap met new Flying Squad unit before sacking
Minister of National Security Jack Warner introduced his junior minister, Collin Partap, to members of the new Flying Squad last year. In June 2012, exactly a month before he was axed from the post, Partap was given a directive to oversee the setting up of an intelligence unit. The unit, which was set up in secret, was aimed at gathering information to help solve crime.
But then Partap was fired on August 25 for allegedly refusing to take a breathalyser test after leaving a Port-of-Spain nightclub. At the time he was fired, the unit had no name. It ended up being called the New Flying Squad Investigation Unit (NFSIU), as listed on several documents, including application forms. Partap, T&T Guardian investigations revealed, met with some members of the NFSIU in July and August last year.
When contacted yesterday, Partap would neither deny nor confirm whether he met with members of the NFSIU. Asked if he played any role in setting it up, Partap replied: "I had nothing to do with the setting up of any Flying Squad. As the minister in the Ministry of National Security I could not set up any unit. It was not in my remit to set up any such unit."
Pressed on whether he was mandated to set up an intelligence unit, Partap said: "I have no further comment to make." Warner did not respond to text messages and telephone calls seeking clarification on the directive yesterday. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson also met with members of the NFSIU in October. Investigations show it was Richardson who recommended that members of the unit should become special reserve police (SRPs).
Contacted yesterday, Richardson did not deny having made the recommendation but said: "The acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has dealt with that matter at length." Asked if he did in fact make the recommendation for the NFSIU members to become SRPs, Richardson said: "Ma'am, I would not add anything further. The minister has spoken and the CoP has spoken."
Commenting yesterday, Williams, who has insisted he did not sanction the setting-up of the NFSIU, said the matter had not brought his office into disrepute. Reiterating he never met with Warner or any member of the NFSIU, Williams said: "Nothing has been said to date that incriminates me in any form or fashion.
“I must never be incriminated in any wrongdoing. It is a situation which was not within my domain and is still not within my domain. I have had no meeting with any of these players in relation to the said issue." Newly-appointed director of the National Security Operations Centre, Garvin Heerah, was in contact with members of the NFSIU over setting up the unit, which was up and running but was recently shut down because of lack of funding.
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