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Warner distances ministry from alleged Flying Squad
National Security Minister Jack Warner has stood by his statements of last Wednesday, which put distance between his ministry and the alleged Flying Squad. This followed a Sunday Guardian report that an internal e-mail trail at the National Security Ministry showed a base was being sought for the unit.
Contacted on Sunday, Warner referred to last week’s post-Cabinet press conference, where questions about a new Flying Squad were raised. Warner reiterated he had said he had met with the people in question, listened to them and went to the acting Police Commissioner on it and the latter disabused his mind about it.
Warner reiterated on Sunday, “And that was the end of that.” Asked about the latest claims of a link between the ministry and the squad, Warner questioned the e-mail trail and said firmly: “I have nothing more to say. I have said it once, twice and three times about this Flying Squad.”
Warner recalled the acting CoP said he would investigate what Warner deemed an “illegal unit.” Acting CoP Stephen Williams said he was not doing a criminal investigation but an investigation to determine the circumstances of what has been raised. His focus, he said, had to do with the issues being raised around a unit around which there were concerns. He said if there were discoveries he would deal with the situation, but isn’t delivering public updates on the issue all the time.
National Security Operations Centre (NSOC) director Garvin Heerah, who is reported to have been aware of plans to revive the unit, said he was only aware of the Flying Squad as a talking-stage issue within informal meetings, and not in any official way.
He said the group might have been like many other groups, ranging from social to academic fields, which had come forward in the past with ideas on how to assist the anti-crime thrust.
Heerah stressed there had been no instruction that the Flying Squad would be part of any agency with which the NSOC would have had to deal. A National Security Ministry official said the ministry had no connection with the alleged unit, never gave any consent or put anything in writing and never “disbursed a cent” towards the unit. Officials said that if anything had to go forward the permanent secretary had to authorise it, and no authority was issued.
They said the NSOC which was alleged to have been “aware of plans to revive the unit” is now seeking staff, is still being formed and has no legal status yet, since legislation to make it a reality is now being drafted.
They said a unit which is projected to co-ordinate all security operations would be based at Riverside Plaza, Port-of-Spain where the former PNM administration’s Special Anti Crime Unit Sautt) was based, until it was disbanded last year.
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