Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 22nd 2013 Contents A5
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
After People's National Movement (PNM)
leader Keith Rowley sent his package of e-
mails to then President George Maxwell
Richards six months ago, the head of state
sent it to the Integrity Commission, says PNM
PRO Faris Al-Rawi.
"We are advised that this is what occurred,"
Al-Rawi added yesterday.
He also said PP backbencher Herbert Vol-
ney's contribution to yesterday's debate on
the e-mails issue corroborated what Rowley
had said and called for an independent probe.
Al-Rawi was speaking to reporters at the
Parliament yesterday on the e-mails which
Rowley revealed in Parliament on Monday,
alleging a high level Government plot con-
cerning the Section 34 issue.
Al-Rawi was asked whether the PNM had
checked or in some way verified that the e-
mails were genuine. He said, however, that
the only way to check the IP address of an
e-mail was if one had a soft copy of a doc-
"Dr Rowley has said that the e-mails pro-
vided to him were provided by a whistle blower
and were in hard copy format," he said.
Al-Rawi also said the e-mail addresses
had been "confirmed by the Members of Par-
liament in question, save the Attorney Gen-
He said Rowley would have taken steps
himself to deal with verification but said the
PNM leader would address the matter before
the motion was concluded.
He said: "Dr Rowley does not pretend or
purport to be an investigator. He has said he
has brought it forward and let it be investi-
He said Rowley spoke about the e-mails
after six months, after sending it to the highest
office holder in T&T, Richards, who demitted
office in March.
Al-Rawi added: "In fact, we were advised
that the matter of the e-mails were referred
at that time by the head of state to the Integri-
ty Commission which can authorise any probe
either by police or other agencies."
Saying the issue has been in the commis-
sion's hands since then, Al-Rawi said a new
commission had not yet been appointed and
the registrar could not deal with it, hence
Rowley's call for current President Anthony
Carmona to appoint a commission.
He said Rowley could not hack someone's
account or go through their IP property. He
said the e-mails were represented the way
they were received, including inconsistencies
which Rowley was aware of.
"He didn't doctor anything. He gave it the
way he got it," Al-Rawi added
He said in Rowley's reference to the e-mails,
in mentioning someone named "Thomas"
from the US Embassy, he was sure Rowley
had meant to say it was US charge d'affairs
Smitham came to T&T last November 2012,
according to officials of the US Embassy yes-
A reply to the T&T Guardian e-mail in the
name of US Public Affairs officer Alexander
McLaren also stated that Channing Phillips,
whose name was also mentioned in the e-
mails, is counselor to the US Attorney Gen-
"For additional questions we refer you to
the Department of Justice," the reply stated.
Former head of the Law
Association Dana Seetahal,
SC, says it's obvious an inde-
pendent probe into the allega-
tions against Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attor-
ney General Anand Ramlogan,
Works and Local Government
Minister Suruj Rambachan and
national security adviser Gary
Griffith is the way to go.
Seetahal, a former Independ-
ent senator, was speaking with
the T&T Guardian yesterday
"I think everything suggests
an independent probe. It affects
the Legislature, Executive and
Judiciary," Seetahal said.
She explained that assistance
also ought to be sought from
foreign law enforcement agents
since "if we have the local police
investigating, there will be cries
of possible partisanship."
Seetahal said it would be in
the best interest of the country
if foreign experts handled the
On Monday, Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley pre-
sented e-mails to the Parlia-
ment which spoke of plots to
interfere in the Judiciary, the
Office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions and the media.
The e-mail addresses impli-
cated Ramlogan, Persad-Bisses-
sar, Rambachan and Griffith.
Former head of the Central
Authority David West said yes-
terday the ball was now in
"He is the best person to
investigate the veracity of the
e-mails by invoking the (Mutual
Assistance in) Criminal Matters
Act. He has all the powers for
this to occur."
West said Ramlogan could
seek assistance through the
Central Authority in having the
matter investigated. The Central
Authority Unit is part of the
Office of the Attorney General.
The act, which provides for
co-operation with the law-
enforcement authorities of
other countries, says: "The con-
tracting parties shall in accor-
dance with this treaty, provide
each other with the widest
measure of mutual legal assis-
tance in criminal matters."
An expert in computer tech-
nology agreed the best course
of action would be to contact
foreign investigative authorities
to have the matter probed. The
source said e-mail giants---
Google, Hotmail and Yahoo ---
if approached by Government
were not obligated to assist
T&T. However, if they were
approached by US authorities,
information would be forth-
The source said: "Google,
Hotmail and Yahoo don't get
involved in politics. Even if the
e-mails have to be certified,
Google and the others will not
give access to their servers and
they will not verify e-mails out
of their jurisdiction.
"One of the ways to get co-
operation is if the US law
enforcement are involved."
After the e-mails were made
public, Persad-Bissessar wrote
to acting Commissioner of
Police Stephen Williams asking
him to launch an investigation.
Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar says she regrets
the controversial proclamation
and subsequent repeal of Sec-
tion 34 which continues to
haunt her People's Partnership
"It should never have hap-
pened," said Persad-Bissessar
yesterday as she spoke with
reporters after the Land Settle-
ment Agency's first draw of allo-
cations for the Land for the
Landless residential lots pro-
gramme at the Southern Acad-
emy for the Performing Arts
(SAPA), San Fernando.
On Monday, the controversial
amendment to the Administra-
tion of Justice (Indictable Pro-
ceedings) Act 2011 reared its head
once again during the debate on
Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley's no-confidence motion
in the Parliament.
He disclosed a series of e-
mails bearing the names of key
Cabinet members, including Per-
sad-Bissessar, sent over 17 days
He alleged the e-mails were
an exchange of communication
that exposed a conspiracy to tap
the Director of Public Prosecu-
tions' telephone and intimidate
T&T Guardian reporter Denyse
Renne, who broke the Section
34 story last September.
said she regretted Section 34 and
"that is why I moved swiftly to
have it (Section 34) repealed and
indeed in the height of all these
e-mails up and down, that's
what was happening.
"We were in the Parliament
--- these alleged e-mails, I should
say --- we were in the Parliament
repealing the very said Section
She declined to speak further
on Section 34, however, since
"that matter is now sub-judice,
as you know, and I would not
want to comment further on it.
It is before the Court of Appeal."
The Prime Minister, flanked
by Leader of Government Busi-
ness in the House of Represen-
tatives, Housing Minister Dr
Roodal Moonilal, and Labour
Minister Errol McLeod said she
was "unfazed" by Rowley's alle-
"I have nothing to fear from
it. Immediately I got it, within
the same day, within hours of
having this brought to us, we
passed it on to the acting Com-
missioner of Police for investi-
gation," she said.
She reiterated that the e-mails
were a total "fabrication."
"I think it brings the Oppo-
sition into disrepute, to the extent
that it will go. It seems to be
acts of desperation on the part
of the Opposition," she added.
She said they were "clearly
designed to bring the Govern-
ment into disrepute. I think this
thing has backfired completely.
"Any right-thinking person
reviewing the e-mails," the PM
said, "will know right away that
it was a cut-and-paste job that
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley's
actions after he received the
alleged e-mails also raised a
number of questions.
She asked: "Why would you
get something that purports to
carry very serious allegations of
criminal intent, which therefore
seems to have a threat to the
safety and security of someone,
and sit on it for six months?
Obviously he did not believe it
Persad-Bissessar said if Rowley
believed the contents of the e-
mails he should have taken it to
the police for investigation.
She said the issue of the e-
mails, which Rowley said he
passed to the President, did not
come up during her meetings
with former President George
Maxwell Richards or his succes-
sor President Anthony Carmona.
The PM declined to comment
when she was asked if interna-
tional help was being sought to
trace the source of the e-mails.
"I would not want to pro-
nounce upon or pontificate on
what they should or should not
do. That is an independent
office. They will determine what
needs to be done," she said.
info to integrity
Independent probe the best option---Dana
PM regrets Section 34 fiasco
'It should never have happened'
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar draws the first chit for the "Land for the Landless" residential
lots by the Housing Development Corporation at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, San
Fernando, yesterday. With her is Nicole Hosein of Ernst & Young. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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