Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 9th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 08TH SEPTEMBER, 2015
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen
Williams confirmed yesterday that he had
received complaints about two police raids on
United National Congress offices in central
Trinidad and on the East West Corridor, mere
days before Monday s general elections elec-
In a telephone interview, Williams said: "I
have received written complaints from an attor-
ney about an incident and then I received oral
communication and complaint by the then min-
ister Vasant Bharat. Both incidents continue to
Bharat had complained that he saw the raids
as pure harassment from the police ahead of
On Monday, former prime minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar said her attorneys had reported
the raids to Williams, as well as observer teams
from Caricom and the Commonwealth.
"I received a report that ten armed policemen
entered the campaign operations centre at 3 am
yesterday (Monday), saying they were searching
for arms and ammunition.
"They spent two hours in one of the campaign
rooms and I am not sure what they did in there
for two hours. They left and no one was charged.
They found nothing. They thoroughly examined
our campaign documents," Persad-Bissessar
On the East West Corridor, Persad-Bissessar
said officers also raided another building but
again found nothing.
"My lawyers have written to the Commissioner
of Police with these allegations and we have
also sent letters to the Election Observer teams
from Caricom and the Commonwealth.
Persad-Bissessar also said despite criticisms
from Elections and Boundaries Commission
(EBC) chairman Norbert Masson that the electoral
campaign "was the most brutish, acrimonious,
rampageous and vitriolic" he had witnessed in
all his life, she respectfully disagreed with him.
"The democratic system is well intact. We
have had no serious reports of violence. There
has been all kinds of allegations flying back and
forth," she said.
"In terms of my campaign speeches I have
tried to deal with issues that matter most to
people. I saw the headlines which said most
brutish campaign but with greatest of respect,
I dont believe this was brutish. It was a very
civilised and democratic campaign."
Meanwhile, the Law Association of T&T yes-
terday congratulated Prime Minister-elect Dr
Keith Rowley and all the candidates who were
on Monday elected to serve as MPs in the next
sitting of Parliament.
"The people of Trinidad and Tobago are to
be congratulated equally for the commendable
and peaceful manner in which all went about
the exercise of their franchise, giving affirmation
to the democratic process and the good health
of the rule of law of this country."
Top cop gets UNC
complaints on raids
YVONNE WEBB AND
Members of the security
detail guarding outgoing Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar yesterday came under fire
for abandoning her after she
lost Monday s general election.
The claims came from mem-
bers of her Penal constituency
who questioned how the Special
Branch officers allowed Persad-
Bissessar to leave her constituen-
cy office in an unsecured private
vehicle for her home at Phillip-
ine, San Fernando, after she
addressed supporters and said
she would not go to the tradi-
tional Rienzi Complex, Couva,
home base for a concession
They also queried whether
officers of the security detail
who told her earlier that the offi-
cial vehicle PM1 was not working
had deliberately misled her. (See
The concerns about what they
called a clear security breach
were raised after video footage
circulated of Persad-Bissessar
opening and entering a white
Toyota car, licensed PDA 9309,
in the absence of any of the Spe-
cial Branch officers who nor-
mally accompany her.
Persad Bissessar, accompanied
by her sister Vidawatie Newton
and another unidentified person
in the back seat of the vehicle,
along with the civilian driver,
then left minus any of the escort
vehicles shortly after midnight
when the crowd had left.
Eyewitnesses said after her
concession speech she went into
a private room and emerged
some time later and headed for
the white car which had reversed
in front the official vehicle.
Persad-Bissessar was report-
edly told the official vehicle was
experiencing some ignition
problems and would have to be
towed away by a wrecker.
However, constituency offi-
cials said yesterday there were
other vehicles in her detail which
could have been used and it was
very strange that PM 1, which
is checked every day, experi-
enced mechanical problems only
upon her defeat.
One person who claimed to
be an eyewitness alleged after
she left in the private vehicle,
PM 1 was driven off by Special
An eyewitness described what
happened on the night:
"She came down the stairs
looking depressed and dis-
tressed. There was no security
around her. She greeted some
people who had remained and
shook their hands.
"She then headed towards the
white car, which was reversed
in front of PM 1. She walked
towards it, opened the door, sat
in the left back seat and closed
the door herself.
"Her sister Wattie was seated
on the right and there was
another person in the middle.
The driver was a civilian. They
drove off without any police
escort although there were some
black jeeps on the road.
"After she left the officers
jumped in the car and drove off.
No wrecker towed it away."
A senior officer from the
Southern Division said yesterday
he was alarmed at the claims as
the Penal Police Station was next
door to the Siparia constituency
office but no one sought their
The officer said assistance
could have been sought to take
Persad-Bissessar home as she
remained Prime Minister until
People s National Movement
leader Dr Keith Rowley was
sworn in later today. Following
his swearing in, Persad-Bissessar
will also continue to be afforded
security for another three
See Page A11
Kamla goes home in private car after election defeat
Contacted yesterday, T&T
Police Service head of
Ellen Lewis, said claims that
Special Branch officers
attached to the PM's security
detail had abandoned their
post were untrue.
Lewis said she spoke to
Special Branch head, ACP Earla
Christopher, who assured her
officers were on the duty to
escort Persad-Bissessar home.
"The official car experienced
engine problems and it was
understood the Prime Minister
opted to travel home in the
company of a relative and that
vehicle was escorted by
Special Branch personnel,"
Lewis told the T&T Guardian.
"The Special Branch did not
vacate the side of Mrs Persad-
Bissessar. There is no truth to
the allegation or the report
that Special Branch officers
vacated the side of the Prime
Minister following the
outcome of the general
However, another official
within the Police Service told
the T&T Guardian Persad-
Bissessar seemed to be upset
at the election results and
indicated to the officers she
had no further need for their
The official said the officers
refused to depart from her
side and remained on site to
ensure full security.
Contacted via text message
too said she was not
abandoned by the security
detail. However, she confirmed
she left in a private vehicle
without a security detail.
"I told them they could leave
as I had other transport. When
they attempted to leave the
car did not start. Seems the
car wanted to stay," she
But attorney Subhas Panday
said Persad-Bissessar was not
authorised to instruct Special
Branch officers to leave. He
said only the head of the
Special Branch could have
made those decisions.
"She is still the substantive
Prime Minister until 1.30 pm
tomorrow (today) when Dr
Rowley is sworn in. As a result,
she ought to be in the
protective custody of the
State. Suppose someone had
shot her in that unguarded
moment?" he asked.
"In the circumstances the
Special Branch should not have
taken her on. They should have
performed their duties and
escorted her home. Protocol
should have been observed,"
EX-PM: I TOLD THEM TO LEAVE
Former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar address supporters at her constituency office in Penal
after the election results on Monday night. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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