Local Government and Works and Infrastructure Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan yesterday defended the T&T Police Service as he dismissed Opposition calls for independent foreign investigators to probe the controversial e-mails revealed in Parliament last week. He said the officers had already written to him indicating their intention to question him and to access his cellphone and other devices in the matter.
During a news conference yesterday, PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi called for a foreign independent probe of the e-mails after raising issues about the integrity of the six-man police probing team. In an immediate response at his Tabaquite constituency’s Indian Arrival Day-Curry Duck and Tassa Competition at Surprise Recreation Ground, Gasparillo, yesterday, Rambachan dismissed the call.
“I think that the Police Service has demonstrated that they are capable of being independent and they have been independent…They do their work without fear or favour,” he said. “The Police Service have arrested politicians in the past, they have taken politicians to court, it is there. I do not see why they (the Opposition) are suddenly afraid that the Police Service cannot do an independent job.” “It is very unfortunate that the Leader of the Opposition is expressing such unfavourable comments about the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”
Last Monday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley unveiled the 31 contentious e-mails in the House. The contents of the e-mails allegedly exposed a criminal conspiracy by high office-holders to discredit and physically harm a journalist who broke the Section 34 story, to offer the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) a judgeship to get him out of office and to accept payment from an unnamed person in exchange for freedom in relation to the Section 34 fiasco.
The e-mails were purported to be from addresses belonging to the PM, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government and Works and Transport Minister Suruj Rambachan and national security adviser to the PM, Gary Griffith. Persad-Bissessar and her Government have denied any knowledge of the e-mails, but the PM wrote to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, asking that it be probed. Williams in turn mandated Richardson to head the probe.
Yesterday, Rambachan, said the police had sent him a letter requesting his personal computer and his BlackBerry smartphone. He said has no objection to complying with the police request. “I will respond to the letter on Monday and I will make myself available, as well as provide, as I said in my Parliamentary contribution, my personal computer and my BlackBerry phone for them,” he said.
“They have asked me to provide them access so they can see e-mails between September 1 and September 30, 2012, and that is something I will do. I have no problems with that.” The Tabaquite MP said Rowley’s recent actions clearly show “he (Rowley) does not really have a leg to stand on. “It does not matter who are the investigators are, whether they are local or they are foreign or wherever,” he said.
“The fact is it was a fabrication and Dr Rowley is the one who should really be under investigation in this matter.” The minister said Rowley has to take responsibility for what he said and cannot use the “cloak of Parliament” to make allegations. “It seems to me that Dr Rowley has run into a bit of trouble and he is suffering from self-inflicted wounds,” he said.
Rambachan also welcomed the announcement that the Parliamentary Privileges Committee will be meeting on Monday to deliberate on Rowley’s statements during the no-confidence motion last Monday in the House of Representatives.