Monday, February 19, 2018

Warner to raise matter in Parliament


“received threats”: Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj

Mark Fraser

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan came under fire on Friday as political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner said he is taking the prison litigation issue to Parliament.  

And, former Attorney General Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj who also mounted the ILP’s Citizen for Change platform in Gaston Court,  Chaguanas, has sent a warning to certain Government officials for alleged threats made against him. Maharaj, who slammed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for being the “weakest” prime minister ever, also put acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams on notice about the situation. 

Maharaj said he wants to send a warning to some of the ministers of Government about the threats which were made either “indirect or indirect”.

“One of them said they have a silver bullet. One said if I come in their constituency they would break up the meeting.  One said they could put up people to kill Ramesh. Well I want the Commissioner of Police to know, I am saying this tonight because this Government is capable of doing anything. I am prepared to stand up for you,” he told the crowd.

Warner said he had filed two questions for response by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in relation to fees paid to attorney Gerald Ramdeen for prison litigation matters. 

Ramlogan is in the midst of a controversy over allegations surrounding attorneys hired by the State to defend it against litigation by prison inmates. Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, in 2013, received correspondence from former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell asking her to investigate possible breaches of professional ethics.

Warner went on to outline a list of activities he intends to pursue to deal with, what he called Ramlogan’s “excessiveness”.

He said he will contact former attorneys general, such as Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and John Jeremie to craft a letter and send to AGs of the Commonwealth for them to know what is taking place here, and he will also  write to the Commonwealth Secretariat and tell them about the excesses of the AG.

Warner slammed the silence from the Congress of the People (COP) on the latest debacle.

Wearing black in protest against the AG, Warner told the meeting that way back in 2011 he had brought certain allegations to the Prime Minister’s attention.

“In 2011 I went to Kamla because some lawyers had come to me, and they protested because certain demands were being made of them…and they gave me the evidence. I told Kamla of the excesses of the Attorney General. Kamla acted shock and told me she will deal with it. My friends six months later, the excesses got worse…demands got higher. I said I done with that.”

Maharaj in his contribution made it clear that he was doing so as a “life member” of the United National Congress and both he and Warner told the audience that he (Maharaj) was rejected as a candidate in the last general elections by Persad-Bissessar because he made it clear he would not stand quietly by and allow corruption to flourish should he win his seat and be appointed AG. 

“The Prime Minister told me ‘Ramesh. if we win government and you are MP for Tabaquite and you are appointed Attorney General and there are allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister and the Government, would you remain quiet or vocal’? 

“I said, ‘Madame Prime Minister I would be more vocal than I was years ago’,” Maharaj said. Warner said this earned Maharaj an X by his name. 

Maharaj said he felt it his “duty” to educate the people about what is happening in the country , and urged all UNC members to regain control of their party or else hang their heads in shame and embarrassment.

“This Prime Minister is the weakest PM we have ever had… she even worse than (George) Chambers. The PM does not have the courage to do the right thing,” he said.  He spoke at length about the prisoner litigation issue and the role of the Solicitor General as the defender of the State after the Office of the Attorney General. 

“The Solicitor General is a subordinate to the AG. He gives her instructions. It is the first time in history a Solicitor General says she is not going to the boss. She decided to go to the bigger boss, instead of writing the AG, she writes the PM,” Maharaj said.