Sport Minister Anil Roberts yesterday demolished an argument by Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert who inferred that Piarco fraud accused Ishwar Galbaransingh and others must have had inside knowledge about the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offences) Act.
And Roberts used two Express stories to buttress this case—one written by Asha Javeed and another by Keino Swamber.
Speaking on the debate on the motion of censure against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Imbert said the documents related to the proclamation were Legal Notice No 8 of 2012 and the Gazette No 142 dated August 30, 2012. There was also the Government website with the archives of the Gazette, he said.
He said one could establish exactly when a document is created because it has a digital signature.
Imbert said he downloaded the three documents and discovered that the Legal Notice of No 8 was created on September 3 at 8.41 am; the Gazette 142 was created on September 6 at 1.42 p.m. and the Gazette was last modified on September 10, 2012. "Mr Speaker the proclamation was still been worked on and finalised by the Government Printery up to 5.41 p.m but the applicants were before the court on the morning of September 10," Imbert declared to loud deskthumping.
Furthermore, Imbert said he walked into the Government printery on September 11, the day before the debate on the Act to repeal Section 34 and asked for a copy of the Gazette (with the proclamation). He said the employee checked all the shelves as well as the computer system and there was no electronic or paper copy. "On September 11, the proclamation was not available to the public and was not on the records or register of the Government printery," Imbert declared. He added that Independent Senator Corrine Baptiste-McKnight was right to question how the applicants knew about the proclamation.
Roberts however slammed Imbert for insinuating that the financiers of the UNC "got advanced knowledge" about the proclamation", "enabling them to run to the court" on the basis of information which was not shared with the general public.
"There was no way that the population could have know about this thing. No way. Except that on September 1, Asha Javeed in the Express wrote 'President George Maxwell Richards has proclaimed the Administration of Justice (Indictable Procedures) Act in a move to clear Preliminary Enquiries. I don't know how she know. But my point is that the public knew. Once she wrote this on September 4, the whole world down to Obama and Rowley, everybody knew that since September 1 that it had been proclaimed," Roberts said to laughter. He said that was Imbert's big point on which he was making a case for the removal of the Attorney General.
Robert said the Express sells 77,000 papers a day and on any day one paper is shared by at least three or more people. So maybe 200,000 people—and (add to that online), so I think the public would have known. So your point is moot, Diego Martin North East. The whole population knew. And they could have read it in the Express again from Keino Swamber on September 4 in a story which said "the Administration of Justice Act which was proclaimed last week".