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Fired justice minister laughs off $3.2m claim

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

“$3.2 million? I have to tell my wife that, she could do with some money. Trisha! Word in town is that I got $3.2 million. Hahahaha!. We rich! Heeheel!”

That was the response of former minister Herbert Volney yesterday to speculation that he was paid handsomely for his public admission of guilt in the Section 34 imbroglio, which was made, via a press conference on Tuesday at the Attorney General’s office. 

After being amused, Volney said it was “so insulting”.

He said he also heard that he was offered an ambassadorship.” I would love that”, he commented. “I would take anything to serve the country...It would be a great honour but I had no such discussion with the Attorney General, who is in no position to offer me any such thing”, he said.

Asked about his column written two weeks ago in the Sunshine newspaper in which maintained his position on Section 34, Volney revealed that he had been fired as a columnist yesterday morning.

“Jack Warner pulled the plug on me today....I cannot be an independent thinker, I have to toe somebody’s line. I was trying to make a contribution by writing and I know that there are many many people who read my commentary. But if Jack wants to terminate, well he has his reason. But I would not be anything but an independent commentator,” he said. “The only thing I would write for now is the Catholic News,” he said.

Asked where he stood politically, Volney said he was a member of the Independent Liberal Party as far as he knew. On the fact that Warner criticised him for taking blame for Section 34, he said he (Volney) had no allegations pointing to him, other than “idle conjecture than I spoke for money”. 

Told that Opposition Leader Keith Rowley said he (Volney) was hoping to benefit from the largesse of the Attorney General’s department, Volney said: “Keith Rowley has been calling on me to talk the truth and now I talk the truth, he condemning me.”

Volney said he had not recanted on any of his previous statements with respect to the Section 34 fiasco. 

He said was willing to work. “But the work that I want to do is not the work that is being offered. I don’t want to go up the islands. I want to stay in Trinidad. I have young children, they are at school, I don’t want to disrupt anybody,” he said. 

He said, as a former judge, he was prohibited from practising in court but he could do consultancy and other legal work. 

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