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Friday, August 01, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Anand; Fixin’ T&T obsessed with me
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has accused the watchdog group Fixin’ T&T of being obsessed with him. This as the group’s head Kirk Waithe issued a media release yesterday demanding that Ramlogan be immediately fired after two reports on the New Flying Squad Investigative Unit were leaked into the public domain. The reports which were complied by the Police Complaints Authority and the Police Service found that Garvin Heerah, who is currently head of the National Security Operations Centre and a former adviser to the minister of national security, was instrumental in the facilitation of the unit.
Ramlogan said the reports were leaked to the media and to PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi but was not passed on to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar or to himself. The Attorney General had described the leaks as “tantamount to treason and subversion of the State in a democracy.” Fixin’ T&T said Ramlogan’s “rants and tirade” further demonstrated that he was wholly unfit to hold that office. It also claimed Ramlogan had “relentlessly” attacked the media and openly made false statements about any non-governmental organisations critical of the government including Fixin’ T&T. In an e-mailed response Ramlogan said, “Fixin’ T&T is a branch of the PNM that masquerades as an NGO. It is a one-man PNM splinter sideshow which provides strategic political support for the PNM. “Mr Waithe has been obsessed with me since I asked the following questions which he has refused to answer in the interest of transparency.”
Ramlogan said the questions included:
• Who is financing Fixin’ T&T? Is it the PNM?
• Who are the executive members of Fixin’ T&T?
• Does it have a constitution or does it rely on the PNM’s constitution?
• How was Kirk Waithe elected as its leader?
• Who are the members? Are they all members of the PNM?
• What part of Baliser House does one go to get an application form to become a member of Fixin’ T&T?
Al-Rawi, who received copies of the two reports via an anonymous donor, was also criticised by the group. Al-Rawi briefly spoke about the reports in the Senate but did not go into details.
Fixin’ T&T said the handling of the reports which were dropped in Al-Rawi’s mailbox was “injudicious.” It also accused Al-Rawi of misrepresenting a key finding in the report under the cover of parliamentary privilege.
Al-Rawi: Was an elite squad set up under PM’s nose
In response Faris Al-Rawi said, “When Mr (Kirk) Waithe explains to me what he considers injudicious and misrepresented I will respond to him. “The Prime Minister who is head of the National Security Council, the commissioner of police and the attorney general who has been making statements on the law relative to the commission of an act of treason all have a lot of answering to do,” Al-Rawi said. He said the national focus should be on whether an elite and unlawful squad had been created and operated under the nose of Persad-Bissessar. The role of an Opposition, Al-Rawi added, valued the disclosure of issues of national importance and this was particularily important in a developing democracy such as T&T. He said the potential existence of an elite squad operating outside the law had similarities of the one operated by former police commissioner Randolph Burroughs which fell in great notoriety. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said Fixin’ T&T did not call upon Al Rawi to disclose his source.
“Fixin’ T&T also did not call upon Mr Al-Rawi to explain the various contradictory responses given to date. They range from finding the reports in his mailbox to someone dropping it off at his law office. It likewise did not see it fit to call for any investigation to see who committed this offence. “If Mr Waithe asserts that it is the line minister for the PCA that should be provided with a copy of the PCA’s report, please note that as acting minister of legal affairs, I am in fact the line minister for the PCA and no report was provided. “A discretion given to any institution of the State must, in law be exercised rationally and it is clear that a copy should have been submitted to the government given the clear implications for national security,” Ramlogan said.