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...Rowley hails move

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

Bravo to the Prison Officers Association!

This was the reaction of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to the decision of the Prison Officers Association (POA) association to refuse the invitation from the Office of the Attorney General to meet and participate in discussions surrounding the prison litigation probe. 

Stating that it was a case of himself (the AG) investigating himself, the association said it wanted an independent probe. 

Rowley said the POA’s  position confirmed his view that the vast majority of people in Trinidad and Tobago were right-thinking citizens who can differentiate between right and wrong. “And the position taken by those body of citizens, public officers as they are, is a violent slap to the face of the Prime Minister who has taken the offensive action of sending this matter back to the Attorney General and disregarding the interests and concerns of the prisons officers and other citizens.

Rowley said once again “for peace and good order” of the country, he was calling on the Prime Minister to initiate an independent and thorough investigation, judicial in nature, into the whole set of circumstances surrounding this issue of payment to lawyers and conflicts of interest as they may occur in the office of the Attorney General.

Rowley said in the circumstances where the Attorney General is a witness, he ought not to take part and any form or fashion as an investigator of any these matters. 

Furthermore, Rowley said, he was holding out to the Prime Minister that if she continues with her “blatant dereliction of duty” in which appears to be a clear attempt at covering up wrongdoing in the Government, in this instance, in the Office of the Attorney General , “I would not relent as Opposition Leader in mobilising the population to stand with the prison officers and all other citizens to whom this is an affront”. 

He said it was more than likely if the situation continues that “we would have to come together to confront the Government as we did before or in other ways”.

He said the Prime Minister was being given every opportunity for good sense to prevail. “If she had any doubt that she was pretending to satisfy the need for an enquiry,  this action of the POA should make it quite clear that she has failed and that she is offending the population,” he said.

The Prime Minister on Wednesday  instructed the Attorney General to meet with the various stakeholders to address the issue of concerns of an “unethical business venture” which had been raised by the former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell in an August 30, 2013 letter to her (the PM). 

The Attorney General,  who has been insisting that he has seen no evidence of wrongdoing, stated that as a result of the Prime Minister’s instructions, that he would convene a meeting with the POA, the Inspector of Prisons and other stakeholders. 

That meeting was due to take place on Monday.

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