A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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‘Conspiracy to bring down PP’
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is blaming “PNM agents” for leaking sensitive information on the controversial new flying squad to Opposition Senator Farris Al-Rawi. Ramlogan said the reports from the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), which Al-Rawi read liberally from in the Senate last week, is cause for concern as top members of his Cabinet, including himself, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar did not see those reports.
“There are PNM agents in every institution in public life. There are PNM agents in every ministry, in every institution,” Ramlogan said during an interview on the CNC3 Morning Brew on Monday. He added: “I as AG did not see that report. The Minister of National Security did not see that report, the Prime Minister did not see that report read by Farris Al Rawi. “The report is leaked into his hand and he is able to read it in the Senate and boast triumphantly to declare he has the report from the PCA and the Police Service.
“How on earth would an Opposition Senator get the confidential report from the Police Service and the PCA? I would want to ask Gillian Lucky as chairman of the PCA to launch an investigation into that.” In a release on the matter, the PCA pointed out that it had forwarded a copy of its findings on the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions on February 28 but said at no time did it leak the report to any media house, journalist or MP.
PNM agents at work
Ramlogan, for his part, saw the current affair as part of grand plan designed by the PNM targetting the PP. He said: “There are PNM agents everywhere that are working and conspiring to bring down this Government and that is why we have leaks all over and they are conspiring to make this Government look bad. “The reality is, government is not perfect, government is not infallible and we are happy to appreciate constructive criticism because there is always room for improvement.”
In response to questions from the PCA as to how the senator got his hands on the confidential documents, the contents of which were also reported in the Sunday edition of the Express, Al-Rawi had said it was left in his mailbox. The AG also said he believed some media institutions were carrying on campaigns against his government which were fuelled by a personal vendetta.
He said he was concerned that politics on the whole was seeping into the media in a way that has become blatant and glaring, adding there was no measure to strike a balance. “The reality of the situation is we have abolished criminal libel, we have received kudos from Transparency International for press freedom and Government is working well with the press,” her added.
However, he said, while Government was an advocate for press freedom, that did not mean his Government would sit idly by while it was being attacked. “That does not mean the Government has remained deaf and mute in the face of political conspiracies which are being hatched with the media institutions and within institutions of the State.” he said.
what PCA said
In a release on Sunday, the PCA said after it completed its investigation into the revamped flying squad, a report was prepared and delivered to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on February 28. It said on April 8 during a publicly televised parliamentary session, a Member of the Senate indicated that he was in possession of the reports of both the PCA and the TTPS pertaining to the subject matter of the alleged existence of the New Flying Squad.
“The comments made by the honourable senator with respect to the PCA’s report were inaccurate on several counts,” the release said. “The PCA advises that, in accordance with the PCA Act, it can only make recommendations or forward its findings to the respective office holders vested with decision making powers—in this instance, the DPP. “The PCA is greatly concerned that public comments made on the matter have placed highly sensitive information in the public domain while deliberations are still ongoing.”
Noting that due to the complexities surrounding this matter it would not, at this stage, respond to Al-Rawi’s comments, or make any remarks on the content of the newspaper article dealing with the TTPS and PCA reports, the PCA said it was up to Al-Rawi to explain how he acquired the reports and why he read inaccuracies into the Hansard on April 8.