Categorized | News, Regional

PM criticises statements by opposition legislators following arrest of former attorney general

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 1, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has criticised statements made by opposition legislators following the arrest of former attorney general, Anand Ramlogan, who is due to appear in court later on Friday on charges of perverting the course of justice and misbehaviour in public office.

Rowley, speaking at a news conference Friday prior to his departure for the United States “on vacation” said the statements “could lead to racial divisions in the country” adding that the public must take note of the statements made by the opposition including former housing minister, Dr. Roodal Moonilal in questioning the independence of the police and other law enforcement agencies.

Rowley td

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley (File Photo)

 

“This is the modus operandi of the PNM, whether it is (former prime minister) Basdeo Panday, (surgeon) Vijah Naransingh, (former chief justice) Sat Sharma, Anand Ramlogan, this is their modus operandi to harass, to intimidate, to oppress and suppress independent voices against the PNM and their government.

“So Dr. Rowley is no different from any PNM leader, they seek to suppress and intimidate…and Mr. Ramlogan has been a freedom fighter,” He said, noting that with so many criminal activities taking place, “the police with a battalion would search the house of a former attorney general, three years after in a matter concerning a conversation …This is unheard of, it is an abuse”.

Rowley, who is expected to undergo medical tests in the United States, told reporters that Moonilal “is speaking to the world and is saying it is oppression on the part of the government” that has led to the arrest of Ramlogan.

He said the opposition legislator is “implying that it is executive action from the Cabinet and members of this party, not actions of an independent police under the guidance of an independent Director of Public Prosecution” that led to the arrest of the former attorney general.

“He is saying that this arrest of his former colleague is political action on the part of the government and he went further to say it is action against persons of East Indian background,” Rowley said, warning that such statements could lead to racial divisions in the country.

“He named a number of East Indians who had been through the court process and attaches this recent development to it and is indicating to the country that law enforcement in this country is based on your racial complexion.

“Today I condemn that statement and I call upon the wider national community to take note and to condemn this and similar statements because it is kind of statement that creates division in a country like ours the consequences of which can be quite grave if they go unchallenged,” Rowley said.

Prime Minister Rowley said that in naming the prominent East Indian people who have been to court, Moonilal “is seeking to incite flavours of understanding of this development to make it appear as though the police are acting against East Indians under the direction of this government and therefore when he appears in the court under the warrants that now exist he will be a victim of this same development.

“I condemn that and I call upon all the leaders of this country to condemn this development,” Rowley said.

The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) last week issued a statement expressing its own concerns over statements made by politicians regarding the arrest of Ramlogan.

It said it wanted to remind the public of the importance of the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying this principle applies just as much to the former attorney general.

“We therefore caution members of the public to reserve comment until after a court of law has pronounced.”

“We take the opportunity as well to express concern about comments made by two practicing politicians who described the detention of Mr Ramlogan as a ploy to distract attention away from the escalating murder rate, the Tobago ferry ‘fiasco’, and the revocation of the appointment of the Minister of Public Utilities.

“Such accusations call into question the independence of the police service and the Director of Public Prosecutions and undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. If it is the experience of those who operate within the corridors of power that the DPP and the police are susceptible to political influence, then the proper constructive approach is to propose reforms which would insulate law enforcement officers from such interference in the exercise of powers”, the LATT stated.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Sept 1, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has criticised statements made by opposition legislators following the arrest of former attorney general, Anand Ramlogan, who is due to appear in court later on Friday on charges of perverting the course of justice and misbehaviour in public office.

Rowley, speaking at a news conference Friday prior to his departure for the United States “on vacation” said the statements “could lead to racial divisions in the country” adding that the public must take note of the statements made by the opposition including former housing minister, Dr. Roodal Moonilal in questioning the independence of the police and other law enforcement agencies.

Rowley td

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley (File Photo)

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“This is the modus operandi of the PNM, whether it is (former prime minister) Basdeo Panday, (surgeon) Vijah Naransingh, (former chief justice) Sat Sharma, Anand Ramlogan, this is their modus operandi to harass, to intimidate, to oppress and suppress independent voices against the PNM and their government.

“So Dr. Rowley is no different from any PNM leader, they seek to suppress and intimidate…and Mr. Ramlogan has been a freedom fighter,” He said, noting that with so many criminal activities taking place, “the police with a battalion would search the house of a former attorney general, three years after in a matter concerning a conversation …This is unheard of, it is an abuse”.

Rowley, who is expected to undergo medical tests in the United States, told reporters that Moonilal “is speaking to the world and is saying it is oppression on the part of the government” that has led to the arrest of Ramlogan.

He said the opposition legislator is “implying that it is executive action from the Cabinet and members of this party, not actions of an independent police under the guidance of an independent Director of Public Prosecution” that led to the arrest of the former attorney general.

“He is saying that this arrest of his former colleague is political action on the part of the government and he went further to say it is action against persons of East Indian background,” Rowley said, warning that such statements could lead to racial divisions in the country.

“He named a number of East Indians who had been through the court process and attaches this recent development to it and is indicating to the country that law enforcement in this country is based on your racial complexion.

“Today I condemn that statement and I call upon the wider national community to take note and to condemn this and similar statements because it is kind of statement that creates division in a country like ours the consequences of which can be quite grave if they go unchallenged,” Rowley said.

Prime Minister Rowley said that in naming the prominent East Indian people who have been to court, Moonilal “is seeking to incite flavours of understanding of this development to make it appear as though the police are acting against East Indians under the direction of this government and therefore when he appears in the court under the warrants that now exist he will be a victim of this same development.

“I condemn that and I call upon all the leaders of this country to condemn this development,” Rowley said.

The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) last week issued a statement expressing its own concerns over statements made by politicians regarding the arrest of Ramlogan.

It said it wanted to remind the public of the importance of the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying this principle applies just as much to the former attorney general.

“We therefore caution members of the public to reserve comment until after a court of law has pronounced.”

“We take the opportunity as well to express concern about comments made by two practicing politicians who described the detention of Mr Ramlogan as a ploy to distract attention away from the escalating murder rate, the Tobago ferry ‘fiasco’, and the revocation of the appointment of the Minister of Public Utilities.

“Such accusations call into question the independence of the police service and the Director of Public Prosecutions and undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. If it is the experience of those who operate within the corridors of power that the DPP and the police are susceptible to political influence, then the proper constructive approach is to propose reforms which would insulate law enforcement officers from such interference in the exercise of powers”, the LATT stated.