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Rowley: Warner or PM must go
It’s either Jack or the Prime Minister. That’s the choice Opposition Leader Keith Rowley has given, warning that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar must dismiss National Security Minister Jack Warner over the Flying Squad issue, or the Opposition PNM will mobilise T&T to seek the PM’s dismissal. Rowley delivered the warning on Tuesday at a PNM public meeting in St Augustine.
Warner has been under fire over the formation of what has been touted as a new Flying Squad and the PM has called on him for a report on it. On Tuesday, Rowley said after the Government “destroyed” the national security network over its term by dismantling the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) and other agencies, it still came to the conclusion T&T needed an intelligence-gathering body and secretly set about implementing one.
“That is how the Flying Squad came back on the table,” he added. Rowley said Government could not come out openly with it since, after removing SAUTT, that would look bad. He claimed officials went to “discredited Flying Squad retirees,” hired them and put them to work, yet the Prime Minister, Warner and others claimed to know nothing about it.
Rowley said not all contracts were necessarily written. He noted an October 2010 letter to Warner from Belmont residents complaining about crime. He claimed that was passed from the minister with what appeared to be his initials and the words: “Heerah, look into this matter urgently.” Garvin Heerah heads the National Security Operations Centre which falls under the National Security Ministry.
Rowley claimed Heerah called the new Flying Squad’s Mervyn Cordner, gave the information to him and reports on the situation reached the police and “went all the way to the top.” He asked: “So what is Jack saying that he knows nothing?
“On the basis of what I have described, in any fair country where a minister initiated these proceedings to people and had implied contracts operationalised and is now lying to the population, I call on you to call on the Prime Minister to dismiss Warner and if the Prime Minister doesn’t, then the next thing we’ll have to do is mobilise in T&T for the Prime Minister’s dismissal.” Rowley said if the PM thought she saw crowds for the Section 34 protests... “for Section Flying Squad and Section Warner, you ent seen nothing yet.”
Saying the PM had protected Warner several times, Rowley said the Government had destroyed its mandate and if its words could not be trusted, it was “time to go to the polls and elect a government you can trust.” Saying Warner did not have an “original idea in his head,” Rowley said: “Get rid of him and let us start over.”
Noting the various statements on the new Flying Squad, Rowley said Heerah was on the firing line on the matter because someone had to take responsibility. He said any decent Prime Minister would have relieved a minister of his job if he sought to mislead the public and it was worrisome the PM might be afraid to fire Warner since she might be afraid the minister would “fire” her.
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