Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2015 Contents RENUKA SINGH
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith is threatening to quit in
the face of scathing press release
issued by Communication Min-
ister Vasant Bharath yesterday
accused him of making false
claims and compromising the
integrity of Cabinet.
Bharath was referring to reports
that Griffith claimed he was pres-
sured by his Cabinet colleagues not
support a criminal complaint by
Police Complaints Authority Direc-
tor David West.
West claimed on Thursday that
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan
asked him (West) to withdraw his
witness statement in a defamation
case between Ramlogan and Oppo-
sition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in
exchange for the PCA post.
Griffith is now threatening to
expose private details of a meeting
he and his wife, Congress of the
People chairman, Nicole Dyer-Grif-
fith were "summoned to" with
Bharath and United National Con-
gress s campaign and advertising
consultant Ernie Ross on Thursday
In a subsequent interview
though, Bharath denied calling
Dyer-Griffith to any meeting and
he also denied being present at any
meeting with Griffith, Dyer-Griffith
In a telephone interview yester-
day, a livid Griffith, who was at the
National Panorama semifinals, at
the Queen s Park Savannah, in
Port-of-Spain, said that he was
surprised that Bharath would be
the first to say there was no Cabinet
pressure on him to not support
Griffith also criticised Bharath,
claiming that the move to discredit
him was a "red herring" designed
to push him out of office.
"I do not need to sell my soul
for a political seat and I am not
begging anyone to stay, I could walk
out of the Government tomorrow
with my head high," Griffith said.
Griffith said Bharath never con-
tacted him before issuing that state-
ment and was shocked that Bharath
would make such damning state-
ments without verifying whether
he did in fact say that Cabinet was
putting pressure on him not to sup-
"It is surprising and ironic that
the Minister of Communication is
the first to jump out and make
those statements. It is ironic that
he of all people would be saying
that but you know what they say
about people who protest too
much," Griffith said.
He said it was "interesting" that
Bharath would make such state-
ments "as if he forgot" what played
off between the four of us at a
meeting at Ross office on Thursday,
after news broke that Griffith was
in fact maintaining that he would
remain a witness against Ramlo-
"The court of public opinion
could judge me and I could keep
my head high but I want Bharath
to answer to the country what he
was doing up in Ernie Ross office
on Thursday and why they sum-
moned me and Mrs Griffith to a
meeting and what was said there,"
"The Minister of Communica-
tion lacks the most basic common
sense and manners if he cannot
contact me before making these
statements," he said.
"Let them continue, I have no
intention to lie to protect anyone
and I am not going to be pressured
to lie," Griffith said.
Despite Griffith s threats, it was
Bharath who drew first blood yes-
terday when he issued a media
statement saying that Griffith s
word and actions had "compro-
mised the integrity of Cabinet".
Monday, February 2, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Opposition leader Dr Keith
Rowley yesterday criticised all
attempts to link Police Com-
plaints Authority Director David
West to the People s National
Rowley, in a series to text
exchanges with the T&T
Guardian yesterday, was also crit-
ical of any move to label the
growing discord between Attor-
ney General Anand Ramlogan
and West as "political".
West has accused Ramlogan
of attempting to "pervert the
course of justice" by asking him
(West) to withdraw a witness
statement he made in support
of Rowley in a defamation case
between the two politicians relat-
ing to the Section 34 fiasco.
The reports stated that West
was approached to be a PNM
senator back in 2012 but refused
"I was the Opposition Leader
in 2012 and I know of no such
authorised development, directly,
indirectly," Rowley said.
He said the people attempting
to implicate West as a PNM sup-
porter hid behind the "sources"
"As for sources say he was
likely to take up a key post if the
PNM formed the next Govern-
ment? Once again there is
absolutely no basis for this
unwarranted speculation," he
Rowley was also disdainful of
the people that sought to under-
mine "matters of a serious
nature" with speculation and
"busy spreading gossip and
rumour to implicate serious peo-
ple in self serving spin and fool-
ishness and naked lies".
"There has to be some decency
and professional trust in this
country," Rowley said.
"It is unacceptable and irre-
sponsible," he said.
Rowley said those seeking to
paint West with the PNM brush
are "creating public mischief".
"Because of the office I hold,
I can speak to those issues and
they are fabrication designed to
steer the public away from having
guilty people be made account-
able to the embarrassing truths
which now threaten to unmask
them all," Rowley said.
He said the attempts to under-
mine the PNM with these
rumours was the work of "spe-
cialist loopholer rats on a sinking
ship who hope to escape their
inevitable drowning". (RS)
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is
set to resign today and attorney Larry
Lalla is expected to be sworn in.
The Cabinet change will take place
before Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar makes her much anticipated
announcement at 4 pm.
According to the Constitution, Cabinet
must be made up of the Prime Minister
and the Attorney General, so once Ram-
logan steps down, Lalla would have to be
signed in immediately in order to uphold
the Constitutional description of what
constitutes a government.
The T&T Guardian understands that
Ramlogan has not met with Persad-
Bissessar but instead was allowed to send
a statement to her following reports that
Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Direc-
tor David West made a complaint to
police, accusing Ramlogan of attempting
to "pervert the course of justice" by asking
him to withdraw his witness statement
in a civil matter filed by Ramlogan against
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
The T&T Guardian was informed that
Ramlogan met with three lawyers on
Thursday; his private lawyer Pamela Elder
SC, Wayne Sturge and Gerald Ramdeen.
While both Sturge and Ramdeen were
spotted entering Ramlogan s office on
Thursday, Elder refused to comment on
"anything concerning the AG"
, when con-
Key members of the Cabinet met at
Persad-Bissessar s home in Phillpine,
South Trinidad up until 4 am Sunday
morning, sources said, but Ramlogan was
a no show.
The T&T Guardian understands that
he spent the past three days in his gated-
community Palmiste home with his family,
discussing his next step.
The T&T Guardian was told that while
Ramlogan appeared crest-fallen, he stands
by his denial that he ever sought to bargain
the PCA job as an inducement for West
to withdraw his witness statement in the
defamation case with Rowley.
"He has said that by the grace of God,
he would prove this was a move driven
by hate and vengeance," the insider said.
In a statement last Thursday, hours
after West made his report, Ramlogan
claimed the allegation was "part of a wider
political conspiracy designed to damage
the government as we draw closer to elec-
National Security Minister Gary Griffith,
who has been identified as a witness in
West s complaint, when he claimed that
Ramlogan duped him into contacting West
to follow up on whether the witness had
withdrawn the witness statement as dis-
Griffith had claimed that he did not
know the contents of the document he
was asked to follow up on with West.
Griffith said yesterday that has been
cleared by investigators and was not a
suspect in anyway while the provisions
of PCA Act 2006 protects West.
Lalla, the T&T Guardian learned has
not yet been informed of the confirmation
of the appointment but has signalled to
close friends that once approached, he
"He is not saying anything until the
Prime Minister speaks because he does
not want to jump the gun," a close friend
Chutney kings Rikki Jai, left and Ravi B celebrate their victory, after
they copped both the traditional and chutney soca crowns during
the finals of the 20th annual Chutney Soca Monarch, Skinner Park,
San Fernando, on Saturday night. SEE MORE COVERAGE ON PAGE
A17 PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
AG to resign
...Lalla tipped for job
Bharath: Cabinet pressure claims untrue
Griffith threatens to walk
Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said on
Saturday that the entire Cabinet could be the subject of a police
investigation if it proven that pressure had been applied to Griffith
to withdraw his statement in support of West.
The media release carried the headline "Bharath: Griffith's claims
'false and without basis' and went on to say that Griffith's claim
that he was pressured by Cabinet was "COMPLETELY false and
without any basis whatsoever!"
"Any suggestion that such a request was made of the National
Security Minister at the meeting of Cabinet last Thursday is
completely and utterly false. The Cabinet never, at any time,
attempted to do as Mr Griffith has claimed," the release noted.
"In dismissing the claims, Minister Bharath added: "More than Mr
Griffith's claims being completely untrue is the fact that he has, by
his actions, compromised the integrity of Cabinet, and has done so
without any clear or rational reason," Bharath's release said.
"The irony of these claims are also very stark, when one
considers that it is this Government that has done the most to not
only maintain, but improve the processes and mechanisms that
promote accountability and transparency in Government," Bharath
No West/PNM link---Rowley
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