Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2013 Contents ANNA-LISA PAUL
Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley will
be the first person to be interviewed by
police assigned to probe his allegations of
wrongdoing by top government officials in
the e-mail scandal he raised in Parliament
Although he did not want to confirm or
deny that Rowley would be the first inter-
viewee, Deputy Commissioner of Police
Mervyn Richardson said yesterday it was
likely an interview would take place soon.
During Parliament on Monday Rowley
read from e-mails which he claimed were
sent from addresses owned by several high-
profile government officials, including Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan, Works and Local
Government Minister Suruj Rambachan and
national security adviser to the PM Gary
The e-mails revealed alleged plans to offer
the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
Roger Gaspard, SC, a judgeship, the intim-
idation of T&T Guardian reporter Denyse
Renne, who broke the Section 34 story, and
interference in the Judiciary.
After Rowley noted the e-mails showed
"high crime and conspiracy" on the Section
34 issue, Persad-Bissessar wrote to acting
Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams,
ordering him to probe the matter. Williams
subsequently appointed Richardson to head
At yesterday's police press briefing at the
Police Administration Building, Port-of-
Spain, Richardson said they had already start-
ed their investigation.
"Yes, the investigation is in full flight. A
team has been assembled and is working as
Richardson said he had met with the six-
man investigative team before the briefing.
The team comprises members of the Homi-
cide Bureau and Organised Crime Narcotics
and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB), he said.
"The team is progressing with the inves-
tigation under my direct supervision, so the
investigation is on its way."
He also said the Cyber Crimes Unit was
involved in the probe.
Pressed on whether international assistance
would be sought, Richardson said: "One can
never tell. It may be necessary to do so but
at this time all the things we are doing are
"We have assembled a team, persons who
are there with various skills and abilities
working to bring this investigation to a speedy
conclusion in the shortest possible time."
He did point out, however, that assistance
would also need to be sought from Google,
Yahoo and Hotmail to access their servers.
Asked if the police were capable of that
type of investigation, Richardson said: "As
far as practicable, we will use the resources
we have available internally and locally.
"If it does not reside here, we will see how
we can import that but we are doing all that
we can do as the national Police Service to
deal with this problem right now. The team
He said despite calls for an independent
body to oversee the investigation, there were
officers in T&T capable of probing the e-
Asked about the issues which arose with
several cases which he had investigated,
among them the Sea Lots accident which
cost the lives of a mother and her two daugh-
ters, and the new Flying Squad matter,
Richardson, who has over 40 years' expe-
rience, asked: "Are you implying we should
import somebody from Canada?"
Defending his position further, he added:
"I am the DCP in charge of crime in T&T
and I am not aware there are question marks.
"In all the investigations, they have been
dealt with and forwarded to the DPP and
persons have been charged so I am not aware
of any question marks or hangover.
"Why should I excuse myself? Is it that
every time the media says something about
a police officer, we excuse him, so who will
"So should we bring in people to inves-
tigate. Is that what we are saying now?"
Told of the public's lack of confidence in
the police and whether it would not be better
to seek international help, given the mag-
nitude of the allegations and the possible
involvement of high-ranking government
officials, he said:
"I believe we have the competence. That
is not to say that all competence resides
within us but I believe if we find that it is
beyond us, then we will see.
"But to do that from the onset, to me, we
are taking a step there, before we even know
what is before us. We are investigating and
we will do whatever is necessary to ensure
the integrity of the investigation is not com-
promised in any way."
Thursday, May 23, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Former President George Maxwell Richards says
he sent Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley s e-
mails to the Integrity Commission for authentication
after receiving them from Rowley last year.
Speaking from his Maracas, St Joseph, home yes-
terday, Richards confirmed what Rowley and PNM
PRO Faris Al-Rawi had both said about the e-mails
being sent to Richards six months ago, after they
were slipped to Rowley by a whistle-blower. Richards
demitted office in March.
Rowley, speaking about the e-mails in Parliament
on Monday, said he passed them to the head of
state and awaited a reply.
He said he also had called on the Director of Public
Prosecutions and the Integrity Commission to probe
them and for a new Integrity Commission board to
be appointed to probe the matter. The last board's
term ended on March 13.
Yesterday, Richards said Rowley indeed given him
the e-mails months ago.
He said: "I passed them on to the Integrity Com-
mission, as those e-mails, on the face of it, needed
authentication, so the most appropriate body to
handle that independently would have been the
Richards said it was not done with any fuss, bother
or publicity but as a matter of course.
He said it was done in complete confidence so
that the commission would first check out the authen-
ticity of the e-mails and carry out any appropriate
investigation that may have been required.
Richards added: "I want to make it abundantly
clear that this was done in absolute confidence and
He said he was enjoying his retirement, which he
described as a "mixed blessing."
Contacted yesterday, Integrity Commission com-
munications officer Mervyn Crichlow said the com-
mission would issue a statement on the status of the
On Tuesday, Al-Rawi said the PNM, after for-
warding the e-mails, had been awaiting word on the
He noted a new Integrity Commission was yet to
be sworn in.
On March 12, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar was reported to have said she had asked Richards
to allow the new commission to be appointed by
then President-designate Anthony Carmona.
The Prime Minister said she requested that because
the commission's term was expiring a few days before
Richards' own term ended and it would have been
be more practical for Carmona, who was sworn in
on March 18, to make the appointments. She said
Richards had obliged.
Since Carmona's appointment, one of his priority
tasks has been trying to finalise the appointment of
a new Integrity Commission board.
Yesterday, T&T Guardian contacted President's
House to ask when a new board would be appoint-
ed.A statement from the presidency said the head of
state was addressing the appointment of commission
members "with diligence and gravitas, despite the
heavy workload of President Carmona.
"A major challenge is the reluctance to serve by
persons who have been tentatively approached," it
An official said it was hoped the matter would be
finalised some time next month.
The official added a short list of names had been
compiled but intense scrutiny of the individuals,
including one-on-one interviews, were being done,
adding that Carmona, as an attorney and former
judge, was very "hands-on and is going over every-
thing in this matter from top to bottom."
Six-man team to probe e-mail case...
Cops: Rowley to
be quizzed first
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson chats with ASP Joanne Archie during
yesterday's police briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Max: I sent e-mails
to integrity body
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
had to halt her contribution during yes-
terday s Parliament sitting after United
National Congress (UNC) activist Patsy
Lezama collapsed in the chamber.
House Speaker Wade Mark ordered a 15-
minute suspension of proceedings after
Lezama collapsed in the public gallery.
Persad-Bissessar, while winding up the
debate on the no-confidence motion
brought against her, had noticed that Leza-
ma was collapsing in the public gallery. She
called out to Education Minister Tim
Gopeesingh, a medical doctor, to see to
Lezama, who was gasping and holding her
chest after she collapsed.
The PM said: " Tim...!"
Gopeesingh, Minister of Tobago Devel-
opment Delmon Baker, also a doctor, Con-
gress of the People (COP) leader Prakash
Ramadhar and other PP MPs surrounded
Lezama and gave her aid. Gopeesingh then
called for emergency services to come to
the Parliament to assist her.
Persad-Bissessar also went to comfort
Lezama and COP MP Rodger Samuel sat
closely to her and prayed with her.
A stretcher was brought by Fire Services
officials after almost 13 minutes and Lezama
was taken for medical treatment.
On resuming her contribution, Persad-
Bissessar said: "Our prayers go with our
UNC officials said Lezama was a staunch
activist who attended all its meetings. They
said she was ill recently and had missed
the recent UNC forum on the night of the
UNC activist collapses in House
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