Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 10TH AUGUST, 2015
Communications Minister Vasant Bharath says
claims by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley that
the People s Partnership Government was either
sending people to kill him or paying people to lie
on him are completely false.
Rowley made the claims during the People's
National Movement's September 7 general election
campaign launch at Market Square, Scarborough,
on Sunday. Party officials had confirmed earlier
media reports of a $15 million hit on Rowley during
a press conference on the weekend.
That press conference was also called to deny
allegations of sexual harassment by former Express
investigative journalist Anika Gumbs, who claimed
she resigned because she had been left "traumatised"
and "mentally scared" by three encounters she had
with Rowley while pursuing stories between January
and April 20.
In response to both issues during Sunday's launch,
Rowley told supporters: "I said on a platform in
Trinidad a few months ago, for the first time in my
career of over 30 years I feared for my personal
"Lo and behold, as I am speaking to you now,
I am surrounded by people who you pay to protect
me from people who will have me killed.
"First time in Trinidad and Tobago the Opposition
Leader is under attack from the Government and
when I am not under attack from their friends who
they hire to kill me, I am under attack from their
friends who they hire to lie about me."
In a statement issued yesterday, Bharath said
Rowley was being very irresponsible and his claim
was designed to create panic among the popula-
"Any situation where a politician or citizen faces
a threat to his or her life is taken seriously by the
Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration. Wherever
such threats exist, the Government acts immediately,
judiciously and with the care for life of people as
our priority," Bharath said.
He said Rowley's decision to make such allegations
on a public platform was "not only irresponsible
and deliberately contrived to create panic, it is also
a demonstration of using public platforms to incite
the population rather than to articulate clear plans
for the future."
Bharath said the Government had established a
reputation of responding quickly and carefully to
any allegations of death threats.
He said the allegation must be reported to the
police to receive a serious response and not shouted
from a political platform in the hopes of attracting
Bharath said Rowley "already has Special Branch
protection and if indeed there's a threat, the State
national security apparatus will respond as he's a
high office holder.
Contacted by the media yesterday, acting Com-
missioner of Police Stephen Williams refused to
comment on the claims by Rowley.
The T&T Police Service (TTPS) has
signed a multi-million dollar deal with a
firm to equip all police officers with some
of the latest and hi-tech guns to even the
playing field against the criminal element.
Two of the main guns to be purchased
include the SIG PRO and the SIG Sauer
P226 Pistol. The latter---SIG Sauer P226
Pistol---will be assigned to every "ordinary"
police officer in the TTPS, while the SIG
PRO will be assigned to officers in the Spe-
cial Branch Unit, the T&T Guardian has
According to a source who wished not
to be identified, the new guns will replace
the present ones being used in the service,
which include the Smith and Wesson and
M&P 9mm, which is similar to the Glock
The source added that Special Branch
had already been issued with the new SIG
"That particular weapon is used by
counter-terrorism specialist firearms offi-
cers, hence the reason it was assigned to
the Special Branch Unit," the source said.
Contacted for comment on the matter
yesterday, Social and Welfare Association
president Anand Ramesar said the acqui-
sition of new guns for officers was long
"The association has been clamoring for
this change long time now and I am giving
my total endorsement and support to the
Commissioner of Police on this move,"
Ramesar said he was part of a team that
attended a demonstration and exhibition
on the use of the guns last month.
"I believe it was from there everything
may have happened. The firearms we have
now are very much outdated and what you
find is that when it goes defective it has
to remain defective because the parts of
the firearms are not accessible," he added.
Ramesar said some of the guns being
used by the TTPS date as far back as the
"These new firearms appear to be supe-
rior to what we have now but in the long
term the cost of it will be worth it," he
Asked if there were any concerns about
the disposal of the firearms which will be
replaced, Ramesar replied: "There are no
concerns because we believe that there are
sufficient mechanisms in place to discard
Asked if there were concerns that the
"old" firearms would end up on the streets
and in the hands of gang members, he
replied: "We are not concerned of this
either because we never had a problem
with our firearms ending up in the wrong
hands out there. They all will be destroyed
Contacted yesterday, acting Police Com-
missioner Stephen Williams laughed as he
said: "I cannot comment on such infor-
mation for the public out there."
However, Minister of National Security
Carl Alfonso said purchasing the new guns
was deemed necessary to enhance the serv-
"It is all for obvious reasons... new assets,
whether it be arms and vehicles, it is all
in the effort to enhance the TTPS," Alfonso
He pledged his continued support to the
TTPS and promised if given a second term
in office he would ensure his ministry gave
whatever was needed to the TTPS.
"Whatever they think they need or want
to improve the service they will have my
full support," he said.
Ramesar happy cops getting new guns...
Massy Trinidad All Stars frontline member Dane Gulston poses with the Pan Trinbago International Panorama trophy and the first prize
replica cheque of US$250,000 following the band's victory on Sunday at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. The band beat all
comers with their performance of Mighty Trini's Curry Tabanca. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ (See pages A6 & A29)
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