Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday he respects Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard's decision to clear former prime minister Patrick Manning of any "criminal misconduct" in the construction of what would have been a multimillion-dollar church near Arima.
But he said he did not believe it was a clearance "but really a report that states there was not enough evidence to justify a charge".
Last Friday, Gaspard released a statement clearing Manning and his one-time spiritual adviser, Juliana Pena of any "criminal misconduct" in the construction of the church—the Lighthouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ—in the Heights of Guanapo.
The matter had been used by the People's Partnership as one of its campaign weapons in the 2010 general election.
Ramlogan spoke to reporters after the launch of the National Consultation on Constitutional Reform at the UWI Sports & Physical Education Centre, St Augustine, saying the DPP can only make a determination based on the evidence brought before him.
"Of course, there will be some public disquiet and unhappiness, based on the fact that the police did not interview Miss Pena and the source of funds remains a bit of a mystery. That is not the fault of the DPP. If it is a fault at all, it would lie in the police investigation conducted," he said.
He acknowledged that Gaspard did say if any new evidence was brought to the fore, he would revisit the matter.
"That's where the matter rests, but I can see no fault in the decision of the DPP; if that is the evidence before him which led to that conclusion," Ramlogan said.
He said he did not know if an apology would be forthcoming to Manning because there were still questions unanswered on the matter.
"There may be some unanswered questions that the police investigation did not find the answers to: where the money came from, who owned the project, who gave the land ...there were no answers forthcoming, so we were completely justified in making the complaint to have this matter investigated," he said.
He said nothing had been done to the building because it was not owned by the State (even if the State did own the land).
The Sunday Express attempted to contact Manning yesterday, but his wife, Hazel Manning, said he did not have any comment to make on the DPP's decision.
Ramlogan also appealed to Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to submit proposals for the reinstitution of the death penalty. Ramlogan said he had written to Rowley three times after the last death penalty debate in Parliament, at which Rowley had said he would support the initiative, but he had not received a response.
"The issue of the death penalty remains a sore point to the public, and the Government is committed to the implementation but can't unless we get Opposition support in Parliament to amend the Constitution," Ramlogan said.