Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 30th 2016 Contents A5
Friday, September 30, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
is dismissing claims by President
Anthony Carmona that he (Rowley)
consented to National Security
Minister Edmund Dillon meeting
with him on September 5. He is
also denying another claim by Car-
mona that he leaked a confidential
document of the meeting to the
Carmona made the claims during
a news conference at the Office of
the President on Wednesday.
He said he had held a meeting
with Dillon, the Chief of Defence
Staff and the acting Commissioner
of Police on September 5 to discuss
national security matters. However,
Carmona, who is Commander-in-
Chief of the T&T Defence Force,
said he had indicated to Rowley his
intention to hold the meeting at least
three times and had received the
But speaking at yesterday's post-
Cabinet news conference at his St
Clair office yesterday, Rowley denied
"For the record, I was unaware of
any such development (meeting),"
he said, saying he felt he was duty-
bound to the public to set the record
The PM said he was in Tobago on
September 5 when he received a call
from Dillon at 9.30 am, adding Dillon
told him he was requested to meet
with the President.
"That was the first time I knew
of any requirement or any intention
of the President to speak with the
Minister of National Security," Row-
He said he was "surprised" and
"asked the minister what is this
(meeting) about," adding that Dillon
indicated he "did not know and was
not in a position to tell me anything
other than the President had asked
to see him."
The PM said he thought the meet-
ing might have been something per-
sonal and told Dillon to seek more
"I told him (go) and find out... I
couldn't have imagined it had any-
thing to do with a full-fledged
national security meeting chaired
by the President. I thought it was a
personal, private (thing)... the Pres-
ident has family, I assumed it was
something along that line. That's
why I told him to go and find out.
I don't want that confused with
granting approval' for any national
Rowley said Dillon then "left the
country without communicating
with me the next morning (on a
scheduled trip) (and) he did not
return to the country until the fol-
lowing Monday and I would have
seen him the day after that." He
insisted there was no other contact
with Dillon during that period.
Rowley said he subsequently saw
in the newspapers "that there was
a major national security meeting
involving the Chief of Defence Staff,
the Minister of National Security,
the Commissioner of Police (acting)
and this meeting was chaired by the
The PM recalled being "alarmed
and concerned" about the matter
but maintained he "did nothing (and)
I said nothing as the minister was
out of the country."
Rowley said he subsequently went
to his office and found "considerable
documentation relating to this meet-
ing, (including) a 30-point document
covering virtually every area of
national security and a covering letter
addressed to me and signed by His
Excellency on this development."
Displaying what he said was the
document he received from Car-
mona, Rowley said: "It speaks of the
very important consideration of con-
sent required by the President for
the provision of the secret meeting
to be made available to me."
He said Carmona's letter con-
tained "a phrase that had me very
concerned and the phrase was that
he had the consent of the attendees
to tell me what happened at the
The PM said he subsequently
sought legal opinion on the line of
communication involving the Min-
ister, Prime Minister and President.
According to Rowley, the Senior
Counsel, who was Martin Daly,
received all the documentation he
had on the matter. Rowley said he
was advised by Senior Counsel that
"my concerns were well founded."
Rowley said via the head of the
public service, he transmitted his
views on the matter to Carmona.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley shows a document bearing the President's seal during yesterday's post-Cabinet
press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
President s House officials had
informed national security officials
that a proposed meeting between
President Anthony Carmona and
Security Minister Edmund Dillon
was "basically security-related"
and Dillon should bring his adviser
to the meeting.
Dillon related that among the
sequence of events leading to the
meeting, in support of Rowley's
explanations regarding queries on
the issue arising from Carmona's
statements on Wednesday.
Carmona said Rowley knew of
the meeting with Dillon during a
media briefing on Wednesday.
But speaking at yesterday's post-
Cabinet media briefing at the Office
of the Prime Minister, St Clair, Row-
ley denied that as well as allegations
he leaked documents from Carmona
on the meeting to the press.
Dillon confirmed he informed
Rowley of the meeting with the
President the day of the meeting.
But Rowley said his advice to Dillon
to "go and see what the President
wanted," shouldn't have been seen
as licence for the meeting, since he
thought the President's request
might have been about security for
his family or something personal.
Dillon said on August 26 his sec-
retary was contacted by Carmona's
secretary requesting Dillon's pres-
ence for an August 30 meeting.
He said his secretary indicated
he wasn't available then as he had
a National Security Council meeting
around the same time.
On September 2, Dillon said
there was communication between
President's House and his secretary
requesting the meeting be scheduled
for September 5.
He said his secretary inquired
about the nature of the meeting
and was told it was "basically secu-
rity-related." Dillon said his secre-
tary was also told Dillon should
bring his adviser to the meeting.
Dillon said on September 5 --- the
day of the meeting --- he went to
Rowley's office to see him but Row-
ley wasn't available.
Dillon said he called Rowley on
the phone and spoke to him, indi-
cating he (Dillon) was requested to
have a meeting with the President
at 12.30 pm the same day.
Dillon said the PM was concerned
about the nature of the meeting
but Dillon said he indicated he was-
n't aware of its nature. He said
Rowley told him to go ahead and
"listen to what the President" had
to say. Dillon then attended the
Dillon said prior to that --- over
the previous weekend --- he had
indicated to the acting Police Com-
missioner and Chief of Defence
Staff that they should be prepared
to attend the meeting with him.
He said the meeting lasted about
three hours and several issues were
dealt with. Dillon said the President
indicated too that he would send a
copy of the notes of the meeting
Dillon said it was correct that the
attendance of the minister's adviser,
CoP and CDF were not known to
Rowley until the latter read it in the
Rowley, however, said he did not
feel Dillon did anything out of line.
He said when he had asked Dillon
what the summoning (to the meet-
ing) was about, he said he didn't
Rowley said at the first oppor-
tunity (after), Dillon gave him a
written statement on the meeting.
He had awaited the minister's telling
him of the event face-to-face ---
since Dillon was out of T&T after
the meeting --- and in the meantime
Rowley received documents on the
matter from the President.
"Then it became clear what had
transpired and I then sought (senior
counsel) advice," the PM said.
Rowley said he didn't know when
he would be meeting the President
again, but would discharge his con-
stitutional responsibility (on this).
Dillon admits PM was in dark about meeting with Pres
On Carmona's allegation that he
leaked a confidential document on the
meeting to the media, Rowley said: "I
have done no such thing."
Rowley said he was unaware of any
publication about the contents of the
documents sent by the President to
him being leaked.
"Had the accompanying document
been in the public domain, you (media)
would have in your possession the 30-
point issues dealt with in the three-
"I have not seen that in the public
domain so I do not come to the conclu-
sion that it is out there and therefore I
deny that I have leaked any such docu-
ment coming from His Excellency, the
The PM said he deliberately did not
give any comments to the media when
questioned about "the carryings-on
and the allegations being made about
matters at the President's household,"
adding he "kept myself and my office
away from those developments."
Yesterday, he said based on what
was told to him about the President's
news conference on Wednesday and
from yesterday's newspapers, he had
to "advise the public on the facts of
this situation as known to me and as
supported by the documentation in my
He said he did not wish "to drag this
matter on and does not wish to en-
gage in any banter with the President.
I simply want to put on record my
knowledge on this matter and what
the documentation contains."
Rowley insisted: "If this document
was sent to you, you would have seen
that nowhere in the epistle that was
sent to me from President's House
was there any reference of any prior
approval for what was coming to me."
Contacted for comment on the
Prime Minister's disclosures yesterday,
communications manager at the Of-
fice of the President, Theron Boodan,
said: "His Excellency did not see the
post-Cabinet briefing. At the time he
was at a function swearing in a judge
to the Court of Appeal."
Boodan said as soon as "the Presi-
dent sees what was said there should
be a response."
Rowley rebuts Carmona's claims:
No consent for security talks
LEAK NOT FROM ME
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