Saturday, February 24, 2018

Rowley: Govt focusing on leak, not contents

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he was “absolutely amazed” there was no focus (by the Government) on the contents of the report of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the report of the Police Service on the Flying Squad.

“The matter is being spun in a direction by the Government which I find disturbing,” he said.

“Let me for the moment disconnect from what is in front of us about who leak, who didn’t leak and who should be investigated. Let me put that aside for the moment and focus on the issue that is supposed to be in front of the country... The officer (Garvin Heerah) who stands condemned by the two reports on the Flying Squad has been put in charge of the National Security Ope­rations Centre (NSOC).

“How can the Prime Minister put an officer, deemed to be the person with questions to answer over the illegal Flying Squad, in charge of the NSOC? What is the Government saying to the people of this country? That the concern over the opera­tion of an illegal Flying Squad is not a concern? When that was the issue that generated the investigation in the first place?” he asked.

Rowley recalled the country had been told last year by people seeking payment for work done that they were acting as police officers in a Flying Squad unit.

The Government, the Commissioner of Police, the National Security Minister all claimed not to know anything about the unit, he said. The country wanted an investigation to determine whether an illegal police entity was operating in Trinidad and Tobago, he added.

“Now we have the answer the Government is pretending that that is not important, and what is important is who leak it (the answer). All of a sudden, the whole country is being encouraged to discuss the leak of the confirmation (of the exis­tence of an illegal Flying Squad) and not the confirmation itself. I find that quite worrisome,” Rowley said.

Rowley also stated that although there were two reports, all the “spinning and the attacks” have been on the PCA and its director (Gillian Lucky). He said nobody is paying attention to the fact that the report done by the Police Service had the same findings.

Rowley reiterated his question of whether acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, who is a member of the National Security Council, had received a copy of the Police Service report on the Flying Squad. The Opposition Leader said if as the National Security Minister, Gary Griffith, had stated, neither the Police Service report on the confirmation of the existence of the Flying Squad nor its content was ever discussed by the NSC, how is it that it now being deemed a “grave national security matter”?

“Notwithstanding the fact that the Government is trotting out all its two-by-four lawyers on every tele­vision and radio station to tell us what we should and should not be talking about, the Opposition is giving no commitment to anybody in this country that if we come in possession of information which we believe the public should have, we would keep it a secret. We would let the public know,” he said.

Rowley said he had not seen the report, but had heard about its contents from Senator Faris Al-Rawi. He said Al-Rawi in Parliament drew the country’s attention to the fact there had been closure on the issue of the Flying Squad with the repor­ts.