Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2014 Contents Asked if he thought it was necessary to mention
the 2011 arrests, Kelshall said, "Let s make it clear.
These men are not being held for anything that they
did in T&T. This (the plot to assassinate the Prime
Minister) is a red herring and has nothing to do with
what they are being held in Venezuela for."
He said the men were held for "breaking the law
in Venezuela" by having in their possession mili-
tary-type clothing, satellite phones and videos of
men firing weapons.
Mohammed also produced Certificates of Character
for both Asim Luqman and Dominic Pitilal, dated
May 22, to prove that her clients had no previous
She said it was a fact "that entire plot to assassinate
the Prime Minister was bogus and had no credibility
and it is unfair that it can be used against the men.
The T&T authorities must correct this immediate-
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Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall has
disputed the claim by attorney
Nafeesa Mohammed that a govern-
ment official wrongly informed the
Bolivarian National Intelligence Serv-
ice (Sebin) that two of the five men
still detained in Venezuela had crim-
inal records relating to a plot to assas-
sinate T&T s Prime Minister in 2011.
At a press conference on Thursday,
Mohammed said she had official doc-
uments to that effect.
But Kelshall said on Friday, "I did
not say that, neither did any of my
In a telephone interview, he
explained, "The document is wrong
in saying the men have criminal
He added the error might have been
a result of a mistranslation and how
the Venezuelan authorities interpreted
the word "arrest."
Kelshall said his contingent made it
clear what was meant with regard to
the detention of the two men in 2011.
"We were asked whether any
detainees had a criminal record, and
we informed them that two of the
detainees were arrested for an alleged
plot against the Prime Minister s life
and both were released without charge
due to a lack of evidence at the time,
along with hundreds of other
Mix-up over criminal records of Trini detained in Venezuela
Error in translation
While messages are being misinterpreted,
people are languishing in jail, Nafeesa
Mohammed said, responding to Kelshall's
explanation of the Sebin document.
"If that is what was said why don't they
forward that to Sebin so we can rectify the
injustice that is being done?
"I'm glad that he cleared this up, and I hope
Mr Kelshall continues to help us rectify the
situation. We recognise there is a process and
the men have to appear before a tribunal, but a
combination of efforts is still required."
Asked to respond to Kelshall's comment that
the men were arrested for breaking the law in
Venezuela, Mohammed said the T&T
authorities had made no efforts to verify the
information given to them from Venezuela.
"When people travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj
and Umrah, communication is always a
problem. I carried three phones when I last
"The women who came back showed me the
alleged military-type clothing and they were
normal cargo pants.
"The video shown was taken at a shooting
range which the men visited after they were
invited by some Venezuelan friends who were
police officers, and the men shooting in the
video were Venezuelans, not Trinidadians. There
were families and children present, so it was
not any military training as they make it out to
"The T&T authorities are operating as though
the men are guilty and no one is guiding the
process here. We're calling on our government
to intensify their efforts."
"The women who were arrested are here
now and they can clear up many things. It's
ridiculous and unfair."
The T&T Guardian obtained a certified
translated copy of the Sebin document which
says: "In commencing investigations into the
aforementioned matter (the arrest of 22 T&T
citizens on March 19 at Plaza Palace Hotel by
Sebin), the director of Sebin instructed the
Director of Intelligence of said organisation to
liaise with the Defence Attache of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela in T&T, C/A Alfredo Tovar
Yanez, in order to expedite the process with the
T&T authorities regarding the verification of the
identities of the contingent under investigation
and confirmation of their legal status.
"It must be mentioned that said information
was requested informally from Rear Admiral
Richard Kelshall, National Security Adviser of the
Prime Minister of T&T.
"An initial response to the request indicated
that the aforementioned citizens are nationals of
T&T; two of whom have criminal records having
been under investigation in relation to a plot to
assassinate the Prime Minister in the year 2011."
Mohammed said these allegation about the
men were false and she had certificates of
character for them that proved they had no
WHAT THE VENEZUELA
In November 2011, during the state of
emergency, 16 men were arrested for links to an
alleged plot to assassinate the PM and other
members of Cabinet.
On December 6, 2011, all the men were
released owing to lack of evidence.
Attorney Nafeesa Mohammed, centre, flanked by relatives of the five imprisoned Trinidadian nationals in Venezuela, displays a report
compiled by the Venezuelan Intelligence agency, during a press conference at her home in El Socorro on Friday. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall
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