Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Security minister defends Reshmi as Government accused of wrongdoing in Senate
The Office of Chief State Solicitor has advised the Government that it cannot proceed with the multi-million dollar Invaders Bay Project without going through the Central Tenders Board. This is according to Opposition Senator Faris Al Rawi during the budget debate in the Senate on Monday. Al- Rawi said two companies—Invaders Bay Marina Development Company and Dachin Commercial Development Company—were pre-selected.
Al Rawi said the Chief State Solicitor had advised the Government that it “cannot circumvent the Central Tenders Board and the entire process is wrong from the start. He said: “We cannot have a position where a $5 billion acreage of land is disposed of in the dark and where there is no information. He said the companies had an expectation that the Government “could give this land and consequently spent millions of dollars in investment planning for the project.”
Also during Monday’s debate National Security Minister Gary Griffith defended former head of the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) Reshmi Ramnarine saying she was the only one who effectively stopped the illegal tapping of citizens’ phones. The Opposition has repeatedly questioned the brief employment of Ramnarine to the position based on her qualifications. She resigned in early 2011 days after her appointment was announced.
“It wasn’t Reshmi,” Griffith said repeatedly, after naming several reporters and politicians whose phones were tapped under the former Patrick Manning government in 2010. “Mr President, in fact I believe Reshmi was the one who actually stopped it,” Griffith told legislators. He added: “Reshmi was never the enemy of the State, neither were the individuals who were involved in the intercepting (of calls),” Griffith said.
The new minister said it was those who authorised the intercepting of the calls who were “ten times worse than Reshmi, Mr President.” He also defended the 2011 state of emergency, which he said saved at least 100 lives. Griffith also used the opportunity to extend condolences to the relatives of T&T scholar Ravindra Ramrattan, who was killed in a terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, over the weekend.
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