National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday defended the presence of acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams during the police detention of then-minister in the Ministry of National Security, Collin Partap.
In a media release yesterday, Warner said when Partap called Williams at 5 o'clock on Sunday morning, he advised him of a "confrontational situation with police officers", which was what prompted Williams to visit the station.
"Williams exercised his discretion to arrive at the Belmont Police Station to ascertain the level of the confrontation," Warner said.
But Warner said his own ministry-level investigations revealed that there was "no evidence of any confrontational situation between the then-minister Partap and any police officer".
"As such, the then-minister's request for the presence of the Acting Commissioner of Police was deemed injudicious, unnecessary and inappropriate," he said.
Early Sunday morning, Partap was stopped by police officers who were investigating police-issued swivel lights and an emergency siren attached to the vehicle he was driving. Police sources claimed they had requested that Partap take the breathalyser test, which he refused.
Warner said even after Williams's arrival, Partap did not want to take the test and it was Williams who "explained the options to the then-minister Partap which were that he could refuse to take the test and be formally charged or he could take the test and allow the results to determine his innocence or guilt".
According to Warner, though Partap's breathalyser results "revealed that he was well within the legal limit", he was still asked to complete a police report on the matter before he was allowed to leave.
"A report on the circumstances was submitted for consideration of the Honourable Prime Minister. Following discussions with the then-minister Partap, Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar took the decision to advise the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, Prof George Maxwell Richards, to revoke the appointment of Minister Partap with immediate effect," he said.
"This decision is consistent with the Prime Minister's decree that ministers must act at all times with the prudence and decorum befitting the office they hold and, moreover, the Prime Minister has reiterated once again, that no one is above the law," Warner said.
The Express reported exclusively yesterday that Partap had been fired by the Prime Minister.
Williams, in a brief interview yesterday, said he would not respond to any questions until tomorrow when he attends the now weekly police briefing.
"I would answer all the questions then," he said.
Police sources close to the incident yesterday said they would be continuing investigations into why Partap had access to a vehicle with blue swivel lights and sirens.
Transport Commissioner Reuben Cato, who is responsible for authorising those amenities, yesterday directed all related questions back to the Ministry of National Security.
In a brief interview yesterday, Cato said, "As I understand it, it is a police vehicle and police have the authority to carry the lights and siren. With respect to the use of the vehicle, that would be a question for the Ministry of National Security, the police or anyone under that ministry."