Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2016 Contents Ramesh: Sturge had
no legal right to
seek help from US
Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge had no legal
right to request that the United States Govern-
ment investigate chairman of the Urban Devel-
opment Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Noel Gar-
cia.This was the opinion of former attorney general
Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and former head of
the Central Authority David West.
Last Friday, Sturge, in a letter to the US Embassy
and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, requested
that country investigate whether the American
financial system was used by Garcia in alleged
"acts of fraud and the illegal payments of bribes
The allegations were detailed by Sturge last
Monday in a letter to the Integrity Commission
requesting an investigation into whether Garcia
received kickbacks in the form of payment for his
son s education
Garcia denied and condemned the allegations
when asked to comment.
Sturge noted that the US involvement was pos-
sible through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
between the US and T&T and suggested that the
alleged offence may have been an extraditable
The Mutual Assistance Act 1997 of the Republic
of Trinidad and Tobago says requests must be ini-
tiated by a judge, magistrate, the Director of Public
Prosecutions or a law enforcement agency.
In a telephone interview yesterday, West said
requests for assistance from the United States
needed to be sent through the Central Authority
to the US Department of Justice.
"What has to happen first is that there should
be a police investigation into the matter. Once the
police require evidence abroad, they make the
request to the Central Authority of Trinidad and
"The Central Authority looks at the request and makes
sure it meets the requirement of the treaty, then they will
send the request to the Department of Justice, which is
their Central Authority," West said.
Asked whether private citizens or groups were allowed
to submit requests under the treaty, West said it had never
happened under his tenure.
"It has never happened on my tenure and should not
happen. It (the treaty) is not set up for people who have
grievances to make a request. They have to go through an
investigative body," he added.
Maharaj, in an interview yesterday, said requests were
normally made from government to government.
"The legislation piloted under my tenure was to promote
assistance between governments in the fight against crime.
Normally countries do not take requests from private indi-
viduals or groups. I do not know any further basis on
which the opposition can make that request," he added.
He said the Opposition, if it believed the Government
was not conducting a proper investigation could finance
a forensic investigation.
"As to requesting the US Government to investigate
criminal complaint, I do not think the US will entertain
that," he said. He added, however, that the US had the
power to investigate any criminal offence and one of those
matters was if they dealt with US dollars.
"They will have a filtering exercise so it (monetary value)
has to cross a certain threshold," he said.
Asked to comment yesterday, Sturge said he was aware
that extradition requests must go through the Central
He said however that his intent was to provide information
of interest to the US Government.
"There is a difference between a request and providing
information," Sturge said. Sturge s letter requests an inves-
"If we wait on our Central Authority I don t imagine
they would want to initiate such an investigation," he
added. He said he expected the police to begin an inves-
Four police officers were arrested by
officers of the Professional Standards
Bureau on Sunday night.
Senior officers yesterday confirmed
the officers who are assigned to the
Morvant Police Station were in police
Up to late yesterday, the lawmen were
being questioned by their colleagues in
connection with a robbery at the apart-
ment of three Chinese nationals at their
home at Orchard Drive, Edinburgh Gar-
dens, Chaguanas, last December.
The victims were allegedly robbed of
CCTV cameras reportedly captured
that lawmen using a marked police vehi-
cle to rob the victims around midnight.
The investigations, which was con-
ducted by the Professional Standards
Bureau, is now under inquiry by inves-
tigator acting inspector Jackman.
Watch out for
fake $50 bills
Members of the public are asked to
be on the lookout for counterfeit $50
A video circulating on social media
yesterday noted the differences among
the first publication of the $50 bill, the
second one made for the visually
impaired and another questionable bill.
The maker, who titled the video
"counteraction", noted that with the last
bill there was no transparent strip on
it, the bird was smaller and the colour
was washed over and faded.
"For all the people working in banks
and they know... watch the difference,
watch the quality. Check it now. You
have to be blind not to notice. Look at
this bird here.
"That is because it is counterfeit, it
is just pure paper, they copy it. Oh gosh,"
In a brief telephone interview yester-
day Nicole Crooks, senior manager,
human resources and knowledge man-
agement and corporate communications
at the Central Bank, said she had seen
"There are clever people and we have
to do our job and let the public know
what to look for. It is something we have
always done. We do a money series espe-
cially around Carnival time," she added.
Crooks said during that time of fes-
tivities, especially at night, there are
volumes of transactions when people
are "changing hands."
She said the Central Bank would run
an education session so the features
would be highlighted with warning pro-
However, Crook said they were not
aware of any counterfeit bills circulating
at the moment.
"We have seen the video and it fell
in line with it (Carnival time). I can t
validate that," she added.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 12, 2016
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