It was improper for Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to use a political platform to launch an attack against deputy leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Anna Deonarine.
Former attorney general John Jeremie and former president of the Law Association, Martin Daly, in separate interviews with the Express yesterday, said the Office of the Attorney General should not be used to score political points.
President of the Law Association, Seenath Jairam, also said he does not condone “that kind of comments”.
“I think public officials have to be sensitive to the criminal minds that we have in our midst and we should not disclose to the public financial transactions. They are waiting to pounce on people at every turn and we can’t be like the proverbial ostrich and bury our heads in the sand. We have to be pragmatic and caring. I do not condone that kind of comments. I know it is on the political hustings but our public officials should be more circumspect in what they say,” he said.
Ramlogan has brandished police documents relating to Deonarine’s purchase of an allegedly stolen Range Rover and also with respect to the sale of land for $13 million to CLICO by her parents, the proceeds of which were credited to Deonarine’s CLICO policy.
Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, at a news conference at his San Fernando office on Wednesday, said Ramlogan’s disclosure of material relative to the Range Rover was “professionally improper” and it was unbecoming of an attorney general to make adverse comments against Deonarine regarding the case.
Jeremie agreed with this, saying Ramlogan’s move was wrong.
“Information which comes into the possession of the Attorney General is more often than not to be treated as confidential,” he said.
“An Attorney General should not use such information on a political platform for political purposes. The Attorney General is the guardian of the public interest and must not subject an ordinary member of the public whose interest he is sworn to defend to such scathing criticism which as it turns out was in any event entirely without merit. To do so was quite wrong both in principle and as a matter of convention,” said Jeremie.
The Express reported exclusively yesterday that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Roger Gaspard, had cleared Deonarine of any criminal wrongdoing in the purchase of the Range Rover.
Daly said the political platform should not be used by attorneys general to attack people.
“I am certain about two things: the public is disgusted by what is happening on the political platforms and that it is not in keeping with the office of the Attorney General...for attorneys general to become partisan attack agents. This is not the first time this has happened or the first regime that has permitted it,” he said.
However, Daly pointed out that questions over the official use of documents would depend on whether they are available to the public.
“With regard to the use of official documents, a distinction has to be made between documents that are available in public records and those that are not,” he said.
“It is particularly important to understand that when these types of attacks occur we are one step away from the highest level of sensitive and protected information being used for the purpose of personal attack,” said Daly.
“When all of the dirty campaigning ends, irreparable damage would have been done to Trinidad and Tobago,” said Daly.