Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2013 Contents YVONNE BABOOLAL
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
says he would rather spend time with
criminals in jail than with criminals in
"If all 36 of them want to send me to
jail, I prefer to be with criminals in the
Frederick Street jail and at the Golden
Grove Prison rather than criminals in
Rowley quoted deceased Jamaican politi-
cian Sir Alexander Bustamante, who served
time in prison.
"Bustamante said a politician who hasn t
been to jail doesn t know his people."
Noting his referral to the Privileges Com-
mittee, he said: "Thank God for small mer-
cies. At least the people in Diego Martin
still have a voice in Parliament."
Rowley made the statements at a political
meeting in the Croisee in San Juan on
Thursday night to a small crowd of sup-
He repeated his lack of confidence in
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn
Richardson, who is supervising a police
team investigating the damning e-mails
pointing to government officials that Row-
ley read in Parliament. Explaining his lack
of confidence in Richardson, he said: "It s
like love: either it s there or it s not."
Referring to Richardson s age, he said
his contract expired in September and was
expected to be renewed in November.
"And you want us to accept that as an
investigation?" he asked.
Tracing the start of his loss of confidence
in Richardson, Rowley said it began when
Richardson came to him before the gov-
ernment declared a state of emergency in
August 2011, telling him of a plot to assas-
sinate Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar.He recounted the incident in an incred-
ulous tone, eliciting laughter from sup-
porters over the alleged assassination plot.
He said the PM had called him and said
there was an assassination plot against her
and she wanted to see him.
Rowley said he told Persad-Bissessar he
would prefer to hear it from security offi-
cials, and the next morning Richardson
came to his office to see him.
"I asked if they had any suspects and
he said they had some in custody."
Rowley went on to recall the arrest of
several Muslims who were held without
charge and then later released with the
assistance of PNM Senator, attorney Faris
The Croisee meeting came hours after
Rowley was referred to the Privileges Com-
mittee by Speaker Wade Mark for possible
contempt, for which he may face expulsion
over allegations that he misled the House.
Persad-Bissessar, who raised the con-
tempt allegation, said the e-mails were
obviously fake. Rowley and his PNM col-
leagues also walked out of the House last
Wednesday during debate on their no-
At the Croisee meeting, which he said
was planned long in advance, Rowley spent
more than an hour seeking validation from
supporters, not so much for the authenticity
of the e-mails, but for the course of action
"The Government has been running up
and down over the last three days saying
what will happen to Rowley.
"Fear not, I am in God s hands," he
assured supporters, who were largely quiet.
Tracing the start of the e-mail story,
from the time he received them in Decem-
ber last year to when he passed them to
former president George Maxwell Richards
to when he exposed them in Parliament
at the end of April, he said: "It is quite
likely, if I had not gone to Parliament, the
matter would have remained where it was
for a year."
He then did an "audit" with the people
by asking a series of questions to validate
"Would you have preferred to have
known about this---it matters not if you
believe the e-mails or not?"
The crowd sent back a less than resound-
"Do you believe these people (the alleged
senders of the e-mails) are capable of such
conversation and you don t believe anything
the Government is saying?"
The yes was louder this time.
"Do you want an investigation into the
e-mails by an independent body?"
The yes was even louder.
"I have never done my job better. For
six months nothing was done, and I go to
Parliament, and in 24 hours something is
"You call that success," Rowley said,
He said he had washed his hands of the
e-mail affair but quickly added that he
was prepared to fight to ensure there was
an independent investigation into it.
He repeated his insistence the matter
falls squarely under the ambit of the
Integrity Commission and called on chair-
man Ken Gordon to move "post haste" in
seeking advice on the investigative powers
of the commission.
Rowley: Give me Frederick
Street or Golden Grove
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, May 25, 2013
New kid on the PNM block, attorney Justin
Phelps, said in democracies everywhere in the
world it is known that whistleblower
information is always set up so as to hide the
identity of the whistleblower.
Phelps made the disclosure at a PNM
political meeting in the Croisee in San Juan on
Thursday night. It was his second appearance
on a PNM platform.
"Whistleblower legislation provides for the
protection of the identity of the
whistleblower," he explained.
Therefore, the inconsistencies in the e-mails
allegedly written between key government
officials which Opposition Leader Dr Keith
Rowley read out in Parliament did not mean
they were not true, Phelps said.
He said the United Nations Convention on
Corruption had stated that whistleblowers
were not to be investigated. An independent
investigation into the authenticity of the e-
mails was needed to protect the
whistleblower, he said.
"Himself cannot investigate himself," he
Phelps said the Government, instead of
giving an answer to the e-mails, focused on
Rowley's conduct. Defending the PNM's
walking out of Parliament just before the
conclusion of the debate on its no-confidence
motion against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar on Thursday, Phelps said it was a
Westminster political tradition.
"The ancient tradition in the Westminster
model is that you subject yourself to the
debate and if you object, the way to do it is to
A battery of PNM officials, including deputy
political leader Marlene McDonald, Senators
Terrence Deyalsingh, Faris Al-Rawi and
Fitzgerald Hinds, chairman Franklin Khan,
chairman of the San Juan/Laventille Regional
Corporation Nafeesa Mohammed and Point
Fortin/La Brea MP Paula Gopee-Scoon were
on the platform to lend support to Rowley at
the Croisee meeting.
"We are here to tell our political leader we
are in support of his standing up in defence of
democracy," Mohammed shouted.
McDonald said the e-mails represented an
orchestrated attempt to undermine the key
tenets of the democracy---the judiciary and
Quoting an ANSA McAL poll, she said the
PM and her Government's popularity had
suffered a nosedive.
"If I were she I would be concerned about
the poll (rather than the e-mails)," Mc Donald
"The chickens have come home to roost and
there are now foxes in the henhouse.
"But as the Man above says, joy cometh in
the morning," she said. (YB)
Police Complaints Authority (PCA) director
Gillian Lucky is once again calling for the
authority to be given the same investigative
powers as the police.
Speaking with reporters after the launch of a
disability awareness campaign yesterday, Lucky
said: "We need the powers, the immunities, the
authorities and privileges of the police and that
is something I am strongly recommending to the
Government they have to consider."
Lucky said the authority was mandated in law
to investigate police officers but the PCA did not
have the immunities nor powers of the police.
She said if the authority went to a crime scene
to investigate a matter which fell within its remit
and took possession of a firearm or drugs, mem-
bers of the authority could be committing criminal
This is something, she said, the Government
had to consider.
Recent events, she said, demonstrated that the
authority has been "out there and doing its role."
Lucky said Director of Public Prosecutions
(DPP) Roger Gaspard said recently the authority
had made a valuable contribution to the Sea Lots
She said during the authority s recent visit to
Tobago, as it seeks to set up an office there,
Tobagonians said: "We know you have teeth, but
you need to get your teeth sharpened."
Speaking to claims of police brutality in the
John John, Laventille area, Lucky told the media:
"I don t want to breach the confidentiality of
reports made by complainants to the PCA, but
again I want to say the matter was put in the
public domain through articles and publications
in our newspapers and even our on radio stations,
and as you all know once it is in the public
domain---even without a complaint---the PCA
becomes very involved.
"Those matters are being actively investigated
by the PCA because we have recognised there
appears to be---based on the articles and pub-
lications published in the recent past---there
appears to be a certain increase in terms of these
allegations of police brutality."
This week a riot broke out between residents
and the police after the residents claimed, in a
CNC3 report, that police had arrested a man
from a rival gang in another area, "roughed him
up" and dropped him off in John John, where he
was then beaten and his dreadlocks cut off. The
report then said the police were then pelted with
She said the PCA s permanent office in Tobago
should open "sooner rather than later." The
authority, she said, had already begun looking at
sites, even though the Government had the final
decision. The office, she said, would be fully
staffed and equipped and the authority s director
and deputy director would be visiting the island
to ensure that its presence was not superficial
When asked about the authority s outreach
and its upcoming visits, Lucky said two days ago
the authority visited Argyle and Moriah in Tobago.
She said the authority also visited the island last
year but had recognised there were many more
places it needed to visit in terms of outreach,
not only to tell people about the PCA but to learn
about their specific concerns.
She said while there were some similarities
between Trinidad and Tobago, there were some
concerns peculiar to the island, such as confi-
dentiality and witness protection. The issues had
been raised with the former Justice Minister Her-
bert Volney and with current Justice Minister
for sharper teeth in
Phelps in PNM leader's corner at Croisee meeting
listens to a
San Juan, on
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