Roger Gaspard SC is seeking counsel as he prepares to respond to a lashing from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley during a People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting in Barataria on Thursday night.
During the meeting, Rowley accused the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of wasting taxpayers’ money with demands for security measures at a building the Government had sourced for its operations.
“I don’t want to use the words I want to use because that will tell you too much,” Rowley told supporters.
“I remember it being said that the DPP doesn’t have space to put lawyers, what did the Cabinet do? “Understanding that office is an important office, the most we can do is give the resources that are available and affordable. The Government went and found executive office for the DPP over three years now, I don’t have time tonight to tell you all the story ... after three years of finding executive office for the DPP, not a footstep inside the office, and we paying millions of dollars in rent.”
Apart from throwing money away in rent, the Prime Minister said efforts to outfit the building also went down the drain.
“They want bullet-proof glass, months passing, they put bullet-proof glass on the building, they want a wall, a wall outside the bullet-proof glass, I don’t have time to explain it to you all tonight,” Rowley said, noting the owner of the building eventually told them to stop making adjustments to his building.
“This is the kind of nonsense that is going on in this country,” the PM said.
Contacted for comment on the issue yesterday, Gaspard said, “Seems to me that a response is called for and accordingly, I am seeking the advice of persons wiser than I am.”
However, the DPP refused to elaborate on who those “wiser persons” were.
Meanwhile, the United National Congress yesterday slammed Rowley for what it called an attack on the Office of the DPP.
During a media conference at the Office of the Opposition in Port-of-Spain, Senator Wade Mark claimed that the Prime Minister’s “bitterness” towards Gaspard had nothing to do with any empty building, but more so with the fact that the DPP this week discontinued one of the corruption cases relating to the Piarco Airport development project.
“Dr Rowley told Trinidad and Tobago that the wheels of justice turn very slowly but they eventually turn, and he has no complaint and no problems whatsoever with what has happened in the courts re the discontinuation of the corruption case. And as he said that in one breath, in another breath, he launched an all-out assault on the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions,” Mark said.
He was referring to the discontinuation of the Piarco Three case against former prime minister Basdeo Panday, his wife Oma, former government minister Carlos John and businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh.
That case pertained to a £25,000 bribe allegedly received by Panday and his wife, and allegedly paid by John and Galbaransingh, as an alleged inducement in relation to the Piarco Airport project.
In discontinuing the case earlier this week, DPP Gaspard noted that the state was unlikely to be successful in the protracted matter, which began in 2006. However, he subsequently pointed out that he intended to continue with the other three related Piarco corruption cases.
Yesterday, Mark suggested there was something sinister behind the PM’s statement on the political platform.
“Is he trying to frustrate Gaspard into leaving the Office of the DPP?” Mark asked, “What is the objective of the Prime Minister?”
Mark said it was distasteful for Dr Rowley to use a political platform to “unleash fire and brimstone on the office of the DPP.”
He added that the PM’s tone of disapproval for Gaspard was more than apparent.
“He quoted some letter from some woman called, I think she is the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, some Joan Honore-Paul and he spoke about her in glowing terms, but in the case of Gaspard, he was bitter! Rancorous!” Mark said.
“We wish to strongly and roundly condemn the conduct of the Prime Minister; the Prime Minister is seeking to undermine and subvert the independent office of the DPP,” he said.