President Anthony Carmona is insistingthat Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley "supported"his meeting with National SecurityMinister Edmund Dillon. The President toldthe media yesterday that "on three occasionsI indicated to the Prime Minister my intentionto hold a meeting with the Minister of NationalSecurity and he supported it."
He is also raising questions about how a"private missive" he sent the Prime Ministerfollowing the meeting found itself in the handsof other people, saying: "I did not disclose thedetails of the meeting in accordance with strictconfidentiality.
Only those who were presentwere aware and the Prime Minister."Speaking to the media for over an hour yesterday,Carmona addressed the issues in thepublic domain, including the purchase of winecarrying the presidential seal, the purchase ofjewelry and the Auditor General's report whichraised an issue with the allocation of $2.6 millionand his meeting with the National SecurityMinister at the Office of the President.
Of the meeting on September 5 with Dillon,Chief of the Defence Staff Rodney Smart andacting Police Commissioner Harold Phillip, which was also attended by his aide-de-campand senior legal officer, the President said:"I have always been compliant with thedoctrine of the separation of powers and ammore than aware of my constitutional remitwith respect to other branches of the executiveand indeed of the Government."
It is exactly for that reason he said "on threeoccasions beforehand, I indicated to the honourablePrime Minister my intention to holda meeting with the Minister of National Security,in the interest of offering suggestions on certainpertinent issues in this republic and he supportedit."Carmona said "at the onset of the meetingI mentioned the Prime Minister's support forthe said meeting and this was confirmed bythose present."
He made it clear, "as I did then at the saidmeeting that I did not impose myself or myviews on the Cabinet or the honourable PrimeMinister, nor did I unlawfully interfere withthe exercise of the functions of the Prime Ministerand or the members of the Cabinet."He said contrary to reports, he did not "summonthe meeting." Anyone who knows him,he said, knows that he does not engage in thatleadership style.
"I am about service leadership. There wereno demands made of the Honourable Ministerwith respect to time. We worked around histime," Carmona said.He said the matters discussed at the meeting "with the stated support of the Prime Minister,were merely suggestions and possible solutionsthat were offered for consideration in my capacityas Head of State and Commander in Chiefof the Armed Forces."He said much had been said about the"alleged constitutional impropriety of my holdingsuch a meeting without emphasis to thepurpose of the meeting."
But he said as a citizenof the country "and like every other citizen ofthis republic, I can legitimately offer suggestionswithin my constitutional remit to alleviate certainissues that plague us as a nation."He said as President he acted within theremit of the Constitution, saying: "By virtueof sections 74,80 and 81, this meeting was conductedwith reference to the honourable PrimeMinister because I had his support to hold themeeting.
PRIVATE SECRETARY PRAMATI
President Carmonadeemed himself an"important crewmember in the ship ofstate," saying he couldnot see things wrongand remain quiet. He said: "If thereare currents in theriver I cannot beindifferent to its danger to the swimmer that isunaware." He said he was "a simple man with abig heart in an exceptional job," and is apractising believer in service leadership. He explained that Pramati Noe "was hisprivate secretary from inception." He said shewas suitable for the job since she had tertiaryeducation and was fluent in Spanish, Italian, German and English.