Who is telling the truth? Does Attorney General Anand Ramlogan have responsibility for the criminal portfolio or not?
Ramlogan has said he did not, as this portfolio was moved to the Ministry of Justice in 2010 when that Ministry was created, but, Opposition MP Colm Imbert is insisting that Ramlogan has the responsibility.
"When we created the Ministry of Justice, the criminal portfolio was assigned to that ministry and the gazetted allocation of ministerial responsibility placed criminal legislation and the reform of the criminal justice system under that particular ministry," Ramlogan had said as he distanced himself from the Section 34 fiasco saying that former Minister Herbert Volney held that responsibility.
Imbert, at the People's National Movement's (PNM) meeting in Arouca on Wednesday night, claimed while the portfolio was removed from the AG's purview in 2010, it was returned in 2011.
Imbert noted that the Gazette of June 16, 2010 stated that criminal legislation fell under the Ministry of Justice.
"There was an issue of the Gazette dated the 15th of July 2011 where the Prime Minister reassigned portfolios to her Cabinet...would you believe when you go to the responsibilities of the Minister of Justice as of the 15th of July 2011, Kamla took away criminal legislation from him. All yuh believe that? So from July 2011 Volney had no Ministerial responsibility for criminal legislation, she took it away," said Imbert.
"The fact of the matter is when the Attorney General told us that Volney had been given responsibility in the Gazette for criminal legislation he didn't tell us that came to end in July 2011," added Imbert.
He said last November when Volney piloted the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, he had no responsibility for that but that Ramlogan did.
Imbert called for the police to question Volney who was fired by the Prime Minister last Thursday for misleading the Cabinet on the early proclamation of Section 34.
"I am calling again on the police to interview Mr Volney because I don't believe he acted alone, one man can't do all of that wickedness, he changed a law without the Cabinet knowing, he proclaimed a law without the Cabinet knowing? He do all kind of 'simmy dimmy' to allow alleged criminals to walk free and nobody knows?...I ain't buying that because if I accept that they should resign immediately, they not fit to govern this country," said Imbert.
"The Attorney General must explain if criminal legislation was taken away from Volney in July 2011 how come in 2012 he saying that Volney have responsibility for criminal legislation. Explain that," said Imbert.
He also noted that former Attorneys General such as John Jeremie, Glenda Morean, Keith Sobion, Russell Martineau and even Persad-Bissessar did not have experience in criminal law but they had responsibility for both civil and criminal portfolios under their purview.
Efforts to contact Ramlogan proved futile as calls to his cell phone went straight to voicemail.