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New Flying Squad members sign affidavits about setting up unit
More than 25 members of the new Flying Squad Investigations Unit (NFSIU) have sworn affidavits outlining details of the setting-up of the unit. Several others are expected to do so later this week. The move was triggered by the repeated denial of the existence of the unit by National Security Minister Jack Warner, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams and National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) director Garvin Heerah.
When the T&T Guardian contacted Heerah yesterday to discuss statements made in his report, he replied by text message: "Have not seen article, no comment, thank you." Several calls to Williams went unanswered yesterday. The NFSIU members are rebutting statements made by the three, and insist the NFSIU was given the go-ahead. The squad began work at Factory Road, Golden Grove, Arouca in July last year, but shut down owing to lack of funding.
E-mails, documents and interviews have all pointed to the existence of the unit. The members who have sworn to the affidavits so far are those who were in communication with officials at the Ministry of National Security and NSOC, in the course of which the NFSIU was given the go-ahead to start work.
The affidavits also say several police officers visited the NFSIU’s headquarters to discuss various investigations. Members of the police Homicide Bureau also gave their business cards to members of the NFSIU in case they needed to contact the police.
Another affidavit records the arrangements made for the eight vehicles used by NFSIU. It does not mention any pro-bono arrangement, as claimed by Heerah. The affidavit says a member (name called) received a telephone call from an NSOC official and was told to go and collect the vehicles to carry out operations.
The revised budget, another affidavit says, was guided by the instructions from members (names called) of the Finance, Logistics and Transport department at NSOC. It claims NFSIU members are still owed payment for their services.
The affidavits from the other members are expected to outline the role and functions of those who conducted intelligence gathering as instructed. Retired police inspector Mervyn Cordner has claimed Warner recalled him to head the squad. Warner has repeatedly denied any knowledge of it. Cordner says the NFSIU staff comprised 75 retired officers who previously worked at various state entities, ranging from the police to the Immigration Division.
The affidavits also corroborate previous T&T Guardian reports that:
• The NFSIU was asked to investigate several matters, among them a report on illegal activities at Davis Street, Belmont. The ministry received the complaint in 2010, and the affidavit says the NFSIU was instructed to investigate the matter in 2012.
• There was a recommendation that members of the NFSIU should become Special Reserve Police officers.
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