Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 3rd 2014 Contents A5
Monday, February 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday declined
to comment on the ongoing investigation by the Drug
Enforcement Adminstration into the $644 million cocaine
bust in Virginia last December.
He said: "That is a matter of rather sensitive and delicate
constitution. It involves inter-governmental relationships
and all I can say is the Central Authority, which falls under
my jurisdiction, remains poised, willing and able to assist
and to continue to assist in this investigation."
Ramlogan also declined to state whether any extradition
orders were requested by US authorities for any suspects
in the case.
The drugs were seized at the Port of Norfolk on December
20 by US Customs and Border Protection officers, but they
only made it public on January 16. The drugs were hidden
in over 700 tins of Trinidad Juice, manufactured by Citrus
Growers Association, a subsidiary of SM Jaleel.
DEA officers arrived in T&T last month to tie up their
investigations into the matter on this end and have been
receiving support from local law enforcement officers.
(See Page A16)
President Anthony Carmona, left, and his predecessor George Maxwell
Richards embrace each other in the VIP section during UWI's annual All
Inclusive Fete at UWI's St Augustine Campus yesterday. PHOTO:ANDRE
Companies vying for the right to
broadcast Carnival 2014 via the Inter-
net are questioning the National Car-
nival Commission s (NCC) three-
month delay in naming who has been
awarded a bid.
Writer, producer and director Danielle
Dieffenthaller, in an interview with the
T&T Guardian yesterday, said it was
disrespectful "to say the least" that the
NCC has at least not explained what
was the delay.
She said bids closed on November 6
last year and when the tender box was
publicly opened there were three com-
panies who tendered. It is understood
the companies were Advance Dynamics,
Cedar House and Vistrac Ltd.
The T&T Guardian was, however, told
that another company which did not
bid was awarded the contract.
Dieffenthaller said she met an eval-
uation committee some two Wednesdays
ago and was asked to supply additional
information, including the number of
"Cedar House is ours and when we
met with the committee they asked us
to submit some stuff," she said.
"I was then told an answer would be
given the Friday night of that week. Fri-
day came and gone and I got no answer
and up to now no one from the NCC
can give an answer.
"Whenever we try to get an answer
from the NCC they are very curt and
discourteous at best."
Saying production was not a cut and
paste process, Dieffenthaller said the
delay was also unfair to her team.
Director of Carnival TV Paul Charles,
who spoke on behalf of Advance
Dynamics, said they also submitted a
"Two weeks ago we were invited by
the NCC for an interview and to date
we have heard nothing. Even before that
we were told that before Christmas a
decision was expected to be taken,"
Charles said. "I cannot understand how
it is taking so long to evaluate three
bids. At the end of the day Carnival will
Contacted yesterday, NCC chair Alli-
son Demas said no decision had yet
been taken on the award of a contract.
She said she also could not say when
that would be announced.
Pressed further on whether a com-
pany which did not bid was awarded a
contract, Demas said, "What contract?
I am not in a position to make a com-
ment. As soon as a decision is made it
will be known."
on DEA probe
Questions over delay in naming
Internet Carnival rights bid winner
New and modern legislation is
on its way to abolish preliminary
inquiries and repeal the con-
tentious Administration of Justice
Act, which was behind the con-
troversial Section 34 fiasco in
2012, Attorney General Anand
Ramlogan said yesterday.
The AG said the new Abolition
of Preliminary Inquiries Bill will be
brought to Parliament shortly to
replace the controversial Admin-
istration of Justice (Indictable Pro-
Ramlogan, speaking with
reporters at the United National
Congress (UNC) Youth Arm s "Live
Your Life Fun and Family Day" at
Palmiste Park, San Fernando, said
modern legislation is coming to
replace the act.
"I will also be coming to the Par-
liament very shortly with a bill to
abolish the preliminary inquiries,"
"It is a bill that will repeal the
old Administration of Justice Act
that sought to do that, which we
know has been afflicted with all
sorts of problems. We will be seek-
ing to repeal that and introduce a
new simplified and more modern
version of the abolition of prelim-
inary inquiries bill."
The Section 34 fiasco had far-
reaching consequences and placed
the Government in an embarrassing
position, eventually leading to the
firing of justice minister Herbert
Section 34 saga
In August 2012, Volney
approached Cabinet seeking the
early proclamation of a few sections
of the act, among them Section 34.
Section 34 prescribed a limitation
period for prosecution of ten years
in respect of certain offences,
excluding treason, murder, kidnap-
ping rape, assault, drug trafficking
and arms and ammunition pos-
Volney, in his note to Cabinet on
August 6, 2012, informed his col-
leagues that after consultation with
the Chief Justice, it had been agreed
that the act should come into force
in its entirety on January 2, 2013.
The act was enacted by both
Houses of Parliament on December
2011 and received the assent of then
President George Maxwell Richards
on December 16, 2011.
On September 10, 2012, Director
of Public Prosecutions Roger Gas-
pard, SC, wrote to Ramlogan indi-
cating his concern with Section 34
and its implications for the pending
Piarco prosecutions. The DPP said
he was unaware of Section 34 and
what it sought to achieve.
The passing of the act created a
public furore after the media report-
ed that it meant businessmen Ish-
war Galbaransingh and Steve Fer-
guson, one-time UNC financiers,
and others charged in the Piarco
Airport corruption cases could have
been freed of charges.
A special three-fifth s parlia-
mentary majority was obtained and
Section 34 was repealed with
retroactive effect in the Lower
House on September 12, 2012, and
was passed in the Upper House the
More legislation coming
Yesterday, Ramlogan also said
the Government will be bringing a
miscellaneous bill to deal with mat-
ters pertaining to jury tampering,
witness tampering and evidence
via video link. Electronic recording
of interview statements by police
officers will also be included in that
bill.He said this will "minimise the
possibility to challenges by defence
counsel in court when they claim
that the (client s) confession was
not voluntarily given, when they
claim that it was in fact extorted
by the police."
Ramlogan said it is expected that
debate on the amendments to the
Bail Amendment Bill, which were
approved by the Senate, will be
debated next Friday.
Move to abolish preliminary inquiries...
AG: New bill
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