Saturday, February 24, 2018

‘PM must say what she knew about Flying Squad’

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is calling on the Prime Minister to tell the nation what she knew about the Police Service Report on the Flying Squad and when she knew about it. He is also asking whether the Prime Minister, the National Security Minister and the Commissioner of Police, all of whom are members of the National Security Council, to state whether they sat at meetings from December to April and never discussed the troubling issue of whether the New Flying Squad Investigative Unit existed and who was instrumental in its operation.

The Police Report and the Police Complaints Authority reports found National Security Operation Centre head, Garvin Heerah was instrumental in the facilitation of the Flying Squad. 

Rowley said once one read the Reports, one could only come to the conclusion that Heerah who has been given “great authority”, “is an unfit person to be in the position that the Government has put him in”. 

“If the Prime Minister is prepared to tell the country that she was unaware of the police findings, then let the Commissioner of Police tell us that he would not have had access to this report. that he would not have told the Minister of National Security and the Minister would not have told the Prime Minister; and that this matter never came up at National Security Council. Then the country would know in how much trouble we are in with respect to the management of our affairs,” Rowley stated.

Rowley said yesterday that the Police Report into the NFSIU was dated December, 2013. “We are now in April...”I want to ask the Commissioner of Police and the Prime Minister whether such a finding could have been made by the Police and it not be made known to the Commissioner of Police and the Prime Minister, as head of the NSC?”.”Do they want the population to believe that a matter like the existence of a Flying Squad which generated such public debate never arose at the National Security Council discussion even after it was confirmed by an investigation by the Police?” he asked... So what does the National Security Council discuss?” he asked.

“Instead of talking nonsense about treason we should be talking about how the NSC functions or not functions,” the Opposition Leader stated. Rowley said he was focusing here on the Police Report “which mirrored the PCA findings”.

Rowley said Government had to account for the contents of the Report. This was especially so since the Commissioner of Police as well as members of the Government indicated publicly at the time that reports of the existence of an unauthorised police unit surfaced, that they knew nothing of the existence of no such unit. “The Government is now upset because the Report -confirming that there was a NFSIU and that persons on the government payroll were identified as acting improperly in the execution of duties- contradict and exposed the Government’s behaviour,” he said.

 “Why did they (the Government) not come to the population with the information. Because they wanted to bury it,” he said.

 And now the Government was seeking to create a new issue of obfuscation about leaks and confidentiality and treason,” all to distract the population”.   “We in the Opposition take no responsibility for protecting information that the Government wants to hide. As a matter of fact as fast as we get information that the Government wants to hide, we will make it available to the public, in the same way that they (the UNC) used to do, when the PNM was in office. They didn’t seek our permission (when they were in Opposition) and we don’t plan to ask for theirs. That is what Parliament is for,” Rowley said.

 Rowley said it was unacceptable for the Attorney General to be attacking the PCA and the media “for simply doing their job”.

Rowley noted that the person investigating emailgate was given a big job as head of the Rapid Response Unit, while Garvin Heerah, the man  found to be instrumental in the operation of the Flying Squad, was promoted from advisor to the Minister to head of the National Security Operations Centre.