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He has serious questions to answer

By Kim Boodram

OPPOSITION leader Dr Keith Rowley has promised another march through the streets of Port of Spain if Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar does not, in “the shortest time possible”, initiate an investigation into the Office of the Attorney General and remove sitting Attorney General Anand Ramlogan for the duration of the probe.

Rowley has issued the ultimatum based on allegations by former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, SC, for a probe into an unethical business venture between attorneys and inmates involved in prison litigation against the State. 

Donaldson-Honeywell last August wrote to Persad-Bissessar, outlining her concerns and asking for an investigation into the matter. That letter was passed to Ramlogan by the Prime Minister for his attention.

Ramlogan last week produced an unsigned letter, dated October 22, 2013, he said was written by Donaldson-Honeywell to the Prime Minister, in which she expressed satisfaction the issues raised were adequately addressed and there was no need for any further investigation from the Office of the Prime Minister.

Ramlogan at the weekend then produced a signed copy of the letter, and said investigations by his office had shown there was no need to pursue the matter.

Donaldson-Honeywell, in a statement on Monday, denied calling off her initial request for an investigation.

At a pubic meeting in Longdenville on Monday night, a fired-up Rowley called on Persad-Bissessar to initiate a probe into the allegations and the Office of the Attorney General and remove Ramlogan during that time, or face a march through capital in the vein of the Opposition’s march against the Government during the Section 34 fiasco.

That march, on November 2 last year, attracted trade union members and civic groups in the hundreds.

Rowley also called on Ramlogan to produce a report on the investigation that he (Ramlogan) claimed took place into Donaldson-Honeywell’s allegations by four o’clock yesterday. Ramlogan did not produce a report.

“The Attorney General has a serious set of questions to answer,” said Rowley, who later offered the support and protection of the People’s National Movement (PNM) to any public servant who wanted to expose corruption in State entities.

Among those questions were whether Ramlogan participated in the drafting of the letter that he claimed was later sent by Donaldson-Honeywell to call off the need for a probe.

The origin of the letter and of both and signed and unsigned copies must be disclosed, Rowley said.

Rowley said “lives are at stake” in this issue, as prisoners are reacting to reports of their fellow inmates being brutalised by prison guards.

He said prison officers are being killed as result of a “criminal empire” being run out of the Office of the Attorney General.

“I am calling on the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to immediately institute the appropriate enquiry into the matter and that he not be anywhere near the border of it,” Rowley said.

Rowley said if Ramlogan had not produced evidence of an investigation into the allegations by yesterday afternoon, he, Ramlogan, was again attempting to divert attention from the matter.

“He said there has been a full investigation,” Rowley said.

“Where and by whom?”

Rowley also said one of the attorneys at the centre of the allegations was, up to last week, still receiving multi-million-dollar briefs from the State.

To the jubilation of Monday’s audience, Rowley called on Persad-Bissessar to act as soon as possible in getting to the bottom of the Donaldson-Honeywell allegations and have the Attorney General demit office while the investigations are ongoing.

“I am putting you on stand-by, if the Prime Minister does not accede to these requests in the shortest time possible,” Rowley told supporte­rs.

He also questioned whether the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago has no inte­rest into looking into the matter, and said any investigation would have to include that body.

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