Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 26th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The State was yesterday forced to drop
a major drug trafficking case after its main
witness, a police officer, was found to have
concocted evidence against the accused.
As a result, Director of Public Prosecutions
Roger Gaspard SC intends to refer the matter
for a police investigation.
"The integrity of that matter was com-
promised. It will be refered to the police for
a full investigation," Gaspard said in a tele-
Legal sources said that the police officers
involved in the case could face a charge of
perverting the course of justice and possibly
Anthony Blackman, 39, of Maraval, walked
out the Port-of-Spain High Court a free
man shortly after his trial began before Justice
When the case was called in the First
Assizes, State prosecutor Brent Winter told
the court that the State did not wish to lead
evidence in the case.
Rampersad then dismissed the charge
against Blackman and discharged the nine-
member jury selected to hear evidence in
T&T Guardian understands that while
preparing the case, prosecutors realised the
there were inconsistencies in the evidence
of the main witness PC Darryl Hunte, who
Hunte, who was assigned to the West End
Police Station, was reportedly questioned
on the issue and reportedly persisted with
his version of the events.
During the preliminary inquiry into the
case, evidence was led that on April 23, 2007,
Hunte and his colleagues were on patrol
along Maraldo Street, Maraval, when they
saw Blackman driving a car.
The officers claimed that while searching
the vehicle they found three bags and three
buckets of marijuana which allegedly weighed
Back then, police had described the drug
bust as one of the biggest for the year.
Hunte is also a witness in the kidnapping
and murder trial of businesswoman Vindra
Naipaul-Coolman, which is currently in its
pre-trial stage and is due to begin early next
Blackman was represented by Mario Mer-
so drug accused
Works and Infrastructure min-
ister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan
says he has asked for state pro-
tection for contractors and work-
ers working on projects in high-
This is because he had been
told contractors were facing violent
attacks, kidnapping and acts of
Rambachan made the disclosure
yesterday as he announced that
he has approached National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith on the
issue in a bid "to utilise the secu-
rity services to ensure that work
He was speaking with reporters
during a tour of the $28 million
Calcutta Bridge project being built
at Calcutta No 1, Couva.
Rambachan said the ministry
had to abandon projects in certain
parts of Belmont in the last fiscal
year because of violent attacks.
"We were paving roads in
another area and a contractor had
to pay $30,000 to get back his
equipment. In another area, I think
it was River Estate, I think two
contractor employees were kid-
napped and he had to pay
$64,000 to get back the employ-
ees," he added.
Rambachan pointed to another
project in Marabella where the
construction of a pavilion was
disrupted because contractors were
being intimidated with threats of
He said in that project some
residents who were considered
"bad boys" come out regularly
with cutlasses and ran the con-
tractors out of the area when they
went to the construction site.
"We cannot have this kind of
lawlessness prevailing where we
are doing jobs to benefit the rest
of the population. It is a kind of
lawlessness that has to be stopped
and Minister Griffith has promised
that he is going to be intervening
in this regard," Rambachan said.
The minister also said a project
in Windsor Park, California, was
also proving to be a little prob-
lematic for the ministry, as res-
idents of the area had shutdown
the project several times.
He said the residents were pre-
venting the ministry from dis-
mantling the bridge in the area
although arrangements have been
made for a bypass while the bridge
was being reconstructed.
"We are going to be using secu-
rity in the coming weeks to ensure
the work there can continue,"
He said he embarked on yes-
terday s tour at the Calcutta bridge
site after residents complained
about delay in the project.
Rambachan, together with
Couva South MP Rudranath
Indarsingh, met with project
director Mahadeo Jagdeo and
Trintoplan Consultants Ltd engi-
neer Adesh Surjunath, who told
them the bridge would be delayed
by two months.
Surjunath explained that the
project was delayed by the con-
struction of a pedestrian bridge
which was not in the scope of
works. Additionally, he said, rainy
weather also caused some delay.
Yesterday workers were seen
pumping flood water from the
construction site after heavy rain
over the weekend.
Surjunath said the contractors
were extending work hours and
adding weekends to the work
schedule to offset the delays.
Jagdeo said the project may be
completed by next May.
Rambachan told Surjunath to
consider value engineering to keep
the project within budget and on
Suruj wants protection
for local contractors
Kidnapping, extortion in high-risk areas...
Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, and Couva South MP Rudranath
Indarsingh, partly hidden, view the construction work at the Calcutta Bridge construction site in Calcutta
No 1, Couva, yesterday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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