Ian K Ramdhanie, MSc,
Amid heated calls for the removal of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Prime Minister Kamla-Persad-Bissessar is denying any move to axe the AG. Pressure has been mounting steadily within the coalition government since the prison litigation issue became public. The PM broke her silence last night following claims from party insiders that the AG was being offered the vacant post of Ambassador to London.
The Sunday Guardian was told that the London posting is now available as Garvin Nicholas’ term recently came to an end. Nicholas is back in T&T and has already assumed his new duties. Insiders at Ramlogan’s ministry said he told several of them and some Cabinet colleagues that his resignation was already in his back pocket and he was not afraid to pull it out.
The call for a criminal probe into the prison litigation issue, as ordered by Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard on Wednesday, has placed the AG’s office under further public scrutiny and has intensified the need for action from the Prime Minister. Several calls were made and a text was sent to the Prime Minister during the day yesterday.
The text to the PM at 2:38 pm stated: “Madam Prime Minister, Renuka Singh @ Guardian. We got word that Anand Ramlogan is going to be reassigned as Ambassador to London. I was also informed that he has refused that offer but has been saying that he has his resignation in his back pocket. Is there any truth to any of this?” The PM responded at 8:17: “No. Truth”
Since the Solicitor General’s letter to PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar highlighting the abuse of the prison litigation cases became public, there has been increasing calls for Ramlogan to step aside or be fired. To date there has been no confirmation as to whether the criminal probe has in fact begun, this despite the fact that Gaspard called for it to begin “immediately.” Several attempts to reach acting CoP Stephen Williams yesterday on that probe was unsuccessful.
Anand: It’s political mischief of the highest order
Ramlogan yesterday dismissed the information as “political mischief.” In a telephone interview yesterday, he said he was not about to demit office, move to London, or even step aside in light of the criminal probe into the prison litigation issue. “I want to make it abundantly clear that this is political mischief of the highest order,” Ramlogan said. He said this spreading of information reeked of the People’s National Movement (PNM).
“The PNM’s strategy is clear; They manufacture and fabricate allegations and accusations, then call for an investigation, and then call for your removal because you are being investigated,” he said. “I want to make it clear that no allegations have been made against me, and the PNM strategy to make allegations and then call for people’s removal is as old as time and will not work.”
Ramlogan said “(PNM leader Dr Keith) Rowley did not apply that principle when he was under probe for the Landate issue.” Ramlogan said the Landate matter was still being investigated and on that basis, Rowley, too, should step aside for the duration of that probe. “They are confusing me with John Jeremie or Glenda Morean,” he said, referring to the two former PNM AGs who were removed from office and given ambassadorships by then Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
Morean, AG from 2001 to 2003, was appointed High Commissioner to the UK in 2003. John Jeremie replaced her as AG in 2003. In April 2008, she was removed from London (and sent to Washington as ambassador to the US) to make way for Jeremie, who was posted to London as an ambassador by Manning. Jeremie was replaced by Brigid Annisette-George.
Not the first call to remove Anand
Ramlogan has faced several calls for his removal since he became AG.
•He has been the central figure triggering at least one massive public march in 2012 in relation to Section 34.
• A call for his dismissal even came from within the coalition back in October, when the Congress of the People met with the Prime Minister to encourage his removal.
•Ramlogan faced a similar call over last year’s emailgate scandal, which also alleged wrongdoing on the part of Prime Minister Kamla and other Cabinet ministers.
•In this latest issue, calls for his removal has come from the Opposition, former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, former ally turned Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner, the unified Joint Trade Union Movement, and Kirk Waithe of Fixin’ T&T.