Govt mum on Coup Enquiry commissioner
By CLINT CHAN TACK Friday, February 1 2013
GOVERNMENT will not make any pronouncements on questions relating to the qualifications of Dr Haffizool Ali-Mohammed to be a member of the Commission of Enquiry into the July 27, 1990 attempted coup.
In making this declaration at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed declined to answer questions from reporters as to whether Attorney General Anand Ramlogan or Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran might have not ensured that Ali-Mohammed’s qualifications were thoroughly scrutinised before he was appointed as a member of that Commission.
Mohammed told reporters: “The chairman of that Commission Sir David Simmons has indicated to the public and I’m sure you’re aware of this, that the person in the matter before us Commissioner Mohammed, has sought the opportunity to seek legal advice.”
He said Sir David has “requested that we give him (Ali-Mohammed) this opportunity, as a matter of fair play and justice, to seek legal advice.” Mohammed said after Ali-Mohammed seeks this advice, “an announcement will be made in regards to that matter.”
Newspaper reports claim that Dookeran recommended Ali-Mohammed to AG Ramlogan for consideration as a member of the Commission. When Newsday told Mohammed questions have been raised publicly about whether Dookeran or Ramlogan were thorough in scrutinising Ali-Mohammed’s qualifications, Mohammed replied: “We don’t want to prejudice the matter. Give him (Ali-Mohammed) a few days again.”
When another reporter asked whether the selection of Ali-Mohammed meant that Cabinet and specifically Ramlogan may not have been diligent in making background checks, Minister Mohammed replied: “Let us give him an opportunity to hear his side of the story before we make any pronouncements please.”
When asked what was AG Ramlogan’s side of the story in this matter, Mohammed said: “That will be revealed in due course.”
Martin George, attorney for Ali-Mohammed in this issue, via a release yesterday, said that counsel held discussions yesterday with Sur David, Enquiry vice-chairman Sir Richard Cheltenham and junior attorney to the Commission, Jagdeo Singh.
As a result, a press conference has been called for today at George’s law offices in Port-of-Spain where up for discussion, among other things, will be Ali-Mohammed’s future on the Commission.