Thursday, January 18, 2018

‘Flying squad’ report left in my mailbox

Al-Rawi responds to call from PCA:

PEOPLE’S National Movement (PNM) Senator Faris Al-Rawi said yesterday that two reports from the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) on a new ‘flying squad’ came into his possession via anonymous donor and not from any member of either entity.

Al-Rawi, who referenced the TTPS report in the Parliament last week, was responding to a call from the PCA that he declare the source of the leak that supplied him with copies of its report.

The PCA, in a media statement, also accused Al-Rawi of inaccuracies in his comments, to which he responded that his statements are available in the Hansard for scrutiny and also that he referenced the TTPS report and not the one coming out of the PCA.

“I can say with absolute certainty that I did not receive the TTPS report or the PCA report into the new flying squad issue from either of those sources,” Al-Rawi said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“I in fact received them in an unmarked envelope left in my mailbox.”

The PCA stated that it is “greatly concerned that public comments made on the matter have placed highly sensitive information in the public domain while deliberations are still ongoing”.

“Pursuant to its functions under s.21 of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Act, Chapter 15: 05, the PCA undertook enquiries and gathered evidence concerning the alleged existence of a New Flying Squad,” the authority sated in its media release.

“Upon completion of these functions, a report was prepared and delivered to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Friday 28th February, 2014.

“On Tuesday 8th April, 2014, just over one month after the submission of the PCA’s report to the DPP, during a publicly televised parliamentary session, a Member of the Senate indicated that he was in possession of the Reports of both the PCA and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), pertaining to the subject matter of the alleged existence of the New Flying Squad.

“The comments made by the Honourable Senator with respect to the PCA’s Report were inaccurate on several counts. The PCA advises that, in accordance with the PCA Act, it can only make recommendations or forward its findings to the respective office holders vested with decision making powers, in this instance, the DPP.”

Al-Rawi sad he cannot stop members of the public from contributing material related to matters of public safety and importance to persons in public office and he remains concerned that those with knowledge of TTPS report, which was produced since December 2013, would have remained silent on it during the numerous times the issue of the flying squad was raised in the public domain.

He said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in particular, would have mostly likely had the report and “said absolutely nothing” in relation to the investigation, which was not only required but actually ongoing.

A Sunday Express report yesterday stated that the ‘flying squad’ was operating without the sanction of the Ministry of National Security or the Police.

The PCA stated yesterday that it would not comment on the article.