Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ramesh slams AG

 There are no national security considerations involved in public disclosure of the contents of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) report into the New Flying Squad Investigative Unit, former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said yesterday.

In a release Maharaj has slammed Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, stating that his (Ramlogan’s) public comments about the PCA were “unbecoming of an Attorney General”.

Maharaj said the existence of a Flying Squad outside of the Police Service attracted widespread public attention and intense public debate. “The public has a right to know the findings contained in this report. What are the national security considerations which are involved if the public gets to know the contents of this report? There are none,” he said.

 Maharaj stated that Ramlogan “without an evidential basis accused the Police Complaints Authority and its Chairman, Gillian Lucky, of leaking to the media the PCA’s report on the establishment and the existence of the (NFSIU).

“The Attorney General has not disclosed to the public that he conducted any investigation of the leak and its source before he made the public accusation,” he said.

“The question therefore arises whether the Attorney General’s public accusation was generated due to his genuine concerns for the public interest or was instead generated by his political motive to condemn Ms Gillian Lucky and the Authority. Ms Lucky is independent and points out to the public the abuse and misuse of power by the Government. 

She (Lucky) has refused to be subservient and sycophantic to the Attorney General and his government,” he said.

Maharaj said if Ramlogan had evidence to justify his accusation against the Authority he ought to have brought it to the attention of the Authority for its response, or take it to the President for his action, and lastly (for the President does not act) take it to the Supreme Court for appropriate orders to be made against the Authority in order to vindicate the public interest.

“The Chairman and Members of the PCA are now additional victims of the abuse and unfair treatment meted out by the Attorney General against public officials. This is the same kind of behaviour which the Attorney General displayed against the Chairman of the Integrity Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions when it was made clear that these public officials were not prepared to be robots of the Government,” Maharaj stated.

Maharaj added: “It is my duty to point out to the Attorney General that the Police Complaints Authority Act did not require its Chairman or its members to have sent that report to the Prime Minister, the National Security Council or the Attorney General. Section 19 of the Act makes its crystal clear that the Authority is not answerable or accountable to them”.

 He said the People’s Partnership in its 2000 manifesto promised that the public would have a right to know from the Government information, as a matter of course.  Furthermore a Partnership Government would be proactive in being open, transparent and accountable to the public. 

Maharaj said  the Government was trying to “hoodwink and fool the population into believing that the Report contained security risks. Is this a public relations gimmick of the Government to divert public attention from the sex scandals involving members of the Government?” he asked. —Ria Taitt