THE appointment of Jack Warner as National Security Minister is not right, vice chairman of the Congress of the People (COP) Vernon de Lima, has said.
De Lima made the statement yesterday as he joined members of the Highway Re-route Movement in a day of prayer and fasting outside the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair.
De Lima called on COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar to take a stand on Warner's appointment.
"The COP has to take a position it is our responsibility to take a position otherwise what is the sense," de Lima said yesterday.
"What I am saying here today in not inconsistent with what I have said for the past two and a half years," he said.
"Two years ago when we heard Mr Warner was being appointed (as a Cabinet Minister) the COP took a position and we made a public statement objecting to that," de Lima said.
"Now he has been appointed in this particular case as the Minister of National Security. How could that be right? I mean this is my position, on the 20th of March the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard) sent a letter to the commissioner of police instructing them to continue investigations into the customs offence. Now how could it be right for him to appointed as the boss of the police who have to investigate him," de Lima said.
"If I am wrong tell me I am wrong, anybody in Trinidad and Tobago tell me I am wrong. I am here to be corrected," he said.
Warner's orders to demolish a camp site belonging to members of the Highway Re-route Movement is evidence of his lack of suitability for the role of National Security Minister, de Lima said.
"The wrong way was employed. We have to see to it the right thing is done," he said.
He said Wednesday's action was reminiscent of a scene in 2009 under the former People's National Movement (PNM) administration when persons protesting an international summit to be held in this country were faced with force from police.
"We have moved the PNM and we have put something in that looks just like the PNM and I do not believe in it and I am not going to stand for it," de Lima said.
He defended the members of the Highway Re-route Movement and said they had done nothing wrong.
"What they (the protesters) are doing is not wrong...it is correct they are a legitimate protest and it could have been settled in a very human way by dialogue," de Lima said.
Former deputy political leader of the COP Robert Mayers, who was also present at yesterday's day of prayer and fasting, said he stood "in condemnation of Warner's Gestapo tactics".
Asked whether he felt Warner should resign, Mayers said: "He just got the job...he should not have gotten it in the first place".
The Express contacted COP political leader Prakash Ramadhar for comment on the issue, however, a woman who answered his cell phone said that a statement was released by the COP on Wednesday and Ramadhar as political leader of the party stands by that statement.
Told that the Express would like to ask Ramadhar questions stemming from statements made at the post-Cabinet press conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's yesterday, the woman assured that Ramadhar will return the call, however, he never did.
-with reporting by Anna Ramdass