Warner blocked from speaking on Flying Squad
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar used the authority of her office to pre-empt the statement promised by National Security Minister Jack Warner on the issue of the existence of a revamped Flying Squad in Parliament yesterday.
Speaking at Piarco International Airport on her return from Haiti on Thursday night, the Prime Minister said she had asked the minister to provide a "complete report" to her and to the National Security Council (NSC) on the issue. She said pending that report, it would be inappropriate for him to make any statement on the issue.
Asked about Warner's proposed statement on Thursday night, she said: "I plead ignorance." Persad-Bissessar, who chairs the NSC, said after that report is given, then the Government would make a public pronouncement on the matter, which she noted has been engaging much public attention.
Warner on Wednesday told the media he would be making a full statement on the issue when Parliament met yesterday.
The Prime Minister has distanced herself from any decision to revamp the "infamous Flying Squad" and stressed she would not sanction any rogue cops or para-police unit.
Warner and the Flying Squad have been in the spotlight after former squad member retired police inspector Mervyn Cordner claimed the squad was revamped and named the New Flying Squad Investigation Unit (NFSIU).
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said he was disappointed by the Prime Minister's statement that she had no prior knowledge of the reintroduction of the Flying Squad. Rowley said in an article dated Wednesday, June 27, 2012, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying she was leaving the issue of the reintroduction of the Flying Squad up to Warner.
"The Prime Minister's professed indignation at learning that the squad is alleged to be operationalised by the Ministry of National Security is yet another attempt to distance and isolate herself from the frequent unacceptable actions of her Government. Rather than provide the population with clear and unambiguous, honest responses, what we have been witnessing is each responsible officer demanding some sort of report from his or her subordinate.
"The population deserves answers in this particular instance about what has been done, and will not accept bramble and bluster about what was not signed and who did not know," he said .
The Prime Minister is responsible for the Government and must take responsibility for the people she appoints and defend particularly when their actions have been found to be inimical to the public interest and are the source of public disquiet and concern, Rowley said.