The following is the full text of Attorney General John Jeremie's statement in the Lower House, yesterday.
Mr Speaker, when I addressed this Honourable House on Wednesday September 23, 2009, in my contribution on the 2009 to 2010 budget, I gave a commitment that the work of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) of the Ministry of the Attorney General which had to some extent fallen into abeyance, would be revived. This unit along with the Central Authority and the Office of the DPP make the Ministry of the Attorney General a force to be reckoned with in Government's anti-corruption battles.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, in part through the Ministry of the Attorney General, has always been committed to find and investigate corruption wherever it exists, and I wish to take the opportunity this afternoon to address this Honourable House on recent issues which have engaged national attention. However, in so doing I wish to make it clear that I do not believe that criminal investigations should be the subject of widespread publicity or comment and it has generally been the policy of the Ministry of the Attorney General that these investigations be conducted with the utmost of discretion in keeping with basic legal principles including natural justice and the presumption of innocence.
I am forced however to address the national community through this Honourable House because of the widespread rumour mongering and deliberate misinformation that regrettably continues to pervade our society. These rumours have a life cycle that begins in old talk before quickly being transformed into newspaper stories, Internet reports, before ultimately appearing as quotations in pseudo-academic journals. I have already addressed the House on the issue of the Abu Bakr affidavit, and the fact that a High Court Judge, who I maintain erroneously, improperly, and in direct contravention to the Order of the Court of Appeal, referred the affidavit of an admitted insurrectionist to the DPP, for investigation.
Despite the origin of the affidavit, and the fact that the existence of any deal was denied on oath in the criminal prosecution of the very deponent to the affidavit, the bureau has an obligation to investigate, and the Honourable Prime Minister, like any citizen has the right to refute the allegations. This is exactly what I understand to be taking place. The Honourable Minister of Works was a member of Cabinet at the time that these matters are alleged to have taken place, and therefore is a likely candidate for interview in the investigative process. That is all that has transpired, there is nothing in what has taken place which warrants the dramatic and sensational headlines which have been dominating our nation's media. I also wish to refer to the media reports last week of an undeclared Cayman Island account, said to be held in the name of a former Government Minister and his wife.
The ACIB has fully investigated these reports, and has determined that they were a total fabrication and a hoax calculated to create confusion in the national community. These are but two examples of the deliberate mischief which has suddenly become pervasive and ultimately ends up being prominently displayed in the media. Again, while I would have preferred not to comment on these matters, the unrelenting fervor over these reports, and the ease with which they are being disseminated was such that I had no choice but to comment.�I have also read reports that Interpol has confirmed the authenticity of documents produced by the Congress of the People in the Calder Hart matter.
I wish to report that the ACIB has been diligently pursuing this matter, and has received no such confirmation from either Interpol or the Malaysian authorities. I bring these matters to the attention of this Honorable House and the national community simply to reinforce the point that not every rumour should be taken as fact, and that while the ACIB and the Ministry of the Attorney General pursue investigations, it will not be distracted by opportunistic attempts to benefit politically or otherwise from what are serious matters. I urge the media and the population to be discerning of unverified reports and conspiracy theories. While admittedly, we are operating in a time of heightened political activity, much energy is being expended to disseminate misinformation with a clear purpose of disturbing the peace and stability to which we have grown accustomed under this current administration.