Monday, February 19, 2018

AG: Govt does not have report to act on


opening talks: United Nations regional co-ordinator Richard Blewitt, right, speaks with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan during the opening ceremony for a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime High-Level Workshop on Judicial and Prosecutorial Integrity, at the Courtyard Marriott, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain, yesterday. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES


The Government cannot act on the contents of reports from the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service on the existence of the New Flying Squad Investigations Unit (NFSIU) because it does not have the report in its possession, regardless of whether that report may or may not implicate certain individuals.

This was stated yesterday by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

“The Government cannot act on a report it does not have. That underscores the disadvantageous position the Gov­ernment finds itself in to take action on something that is not in our possession,” Ramlogan said in response to a question if the Government had verified the contents of the report.

Speaking to reporters after the opening ceremony for a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime High-Level Workshop on Judicial and Pro­secutorial Integrity at the Courtyard Marriott, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain, Ramlogan said since the Government does not have the reports, it does not know who was implicated, why they were implicated and what was the motivation.

The reports, which first appeared in a Sunday Express investigative report by Anika Gumbs, states based on the findings of the investigations, the conduct of then strategic adviser at the ministry Comman­der Garvin Heerah should be examined. Hee­rah is currently the director of the National Security Operations Centre.

Pressed to respond to why the Government would not investigate what was reported, Ramlogan said:

“You are asking me to go on a newspaper report. You may recall, in the first release, the PCA said there were several inaccuracies in the newspaper article and what Opposition Senator Faris al-Rawi said in Parliament. If we act on the basis of an unconfirmed, unverified report which may not be authentic, then (the Government) may be accused of mishandling national security affairs in the coun­-

try. It is absurd to suggest that the Government should take action on any­thing other than an official report,” Ramlogan said.

He said the Government will not request a copy of the report, but rather it was the PCA’s duty to forward it.

Asked whether or not he believed the report was a concern to nation­al security, Ramlogan said if he were to go by what he read in the Express, then, yes, “it is a matter of obvious national security concern”.

“It is telling us that people within the national security apparatus may or may not have been conspiring with a serving Minister of National Security to do something illegal. One does not know if that is true or not. (PCA chairman Gillian) Lucky tells us that is not confidential but we (the Government) are in the dark in this matter because no one has given the Government a copy,” he said.

He also hit back at Lucky’s statement on Monday during a Parliament Joint Select Committee meeting that the report was not a confidential document and nothing in it had implications for the national security of Trinidad and Tobago, nor would its disclosure have caused “major convulsions”.

“I don’t know what qualifies the chairman of the PCA to make a judgment on behalf of the Government of the day as to what would constitute a threat to national security. That is a matter for the National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister, to determine, not any other entity in this country. By law, that is the process.... I do not accept that Ms Lucky is in any position to dictate or tell the Government of the country what constitutes a threat to national security,” he said.

He said if it were in fact not confidential, why did Lucky not provide the report to the Government and every media house.

He added in her first release from the PCA on the issue, Lucky said the report contained “highly sensitive information” and had also called on Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi to explain how he received the document.

“It is a paradox that you can have a document that contains highly sensitive information but it is not confidential. If Ms Lucky can say an investigative report is not a confidential document, it really begs the question to what sort of investigation did you in fact conduct. Any investigation re­port, frankly, in law would be confidential,” he said.

He added he was only speaking about the PCA report because acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has not commented on the matter, and if (Williams) ever said the reports were not confidential, then (Ramlogan) will make the same statements he was making now.

Anand writes to top cop

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday released the letter he had written to Ag Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, asking him to undertake an investigation “to determine if any person should be charged” in relation to the leaking of two reports into the Flying Squad.

In a letter dated April 17, Ramlogan said the “unlawful disclosure by Senator Faris Al-Rawi of the reports on the alleged Flying Squad by the Police Complaints Authority and the Police Service was a grave matter to all right-thinking citizens. The leak of such confidential reports has the potential to affect the integrity of the criminal justice system and undermine the rule of law”.