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‘Pure mischief’

By ANDRE BAGOO Saturday, April 12 2014

MINISTER of Tobago Development Delmon Baker yesterday dismissed as political “mischief”, actions by persons responsible for a report which circulated about him on Tuesday. Baker said he has retained Senior Counsel Avory Sinanan to consider legal options in relation to what he (Baker) said were uncorroborated reports broadcast on radio about him.

On Tuesday, radio stations aired reports about Baker who told reporters yesterday that he was in the process of obtaining a tape of the broadcasts in order to determine the way forward. He said he had retained Sinanan — who recently served as secretary to the 1990 Coup Inquiry — and instructing attorney Christlyn Moore, the former Minister of Justice. It is understood both have been retained in relation to potential civil proceedings.

“It would appear that (the intention) is to cause all kinds of public mischief,” Baker told reporters just before the start of yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain. “But God is great.”

Baker added, “It is disheartening sometimes as a young politician how easily folks, in their attempt to gain power, will do almost anything to get you out of the way.” The Tobago West MP said that on Monday he received an extortion attempt via email, but did not give details.

“On Monday we received what amounts to extortion via email and reported the matter to the police in Trinidad where I was at the time,” Baker said. He said the correspondence was one, “purporting that I conducted myself inappropriately.” Thereafter, “I told the Prime Minister of my intent to go to the police and to defend my character in this matter.” He said radio stations aired matters without corroborating them.

“One would have heard what was expressed on the radio stations without even an attempt at corroborating the story,” Baker said. Asked if he was considering legal action, Baker said, “That is being considered. I am to get the tape as to what exactly was said on the radio station. I did hear from a number of individuals what was said and it caused quite a bit of distress in Tobago, so I will have to get a copy of the tape.” He described as “curious” the timing of the developments.

“The timing is curious. On Sunday we had the largest meeting of the TOP (Tobago Organisation of the People) to make some serious decisions as to how we move the party forward,” Baker said. “By Monday, I received the email and we are moving very quickly to make sure this investigation moves forward thereafter.”

Asked whether he felt there was a campaign afoot to get rid of him by persons sensing blood due to a wave of recent Cabinet resignations, Baker said, “Extortion implies one thing, but the true intent is still under investigation and I do not want to prejudice that investigation or implicate anybody because I would be committing the same act as the person who did this in the first instance.”

Baker made a formal report to the Port-of-Spain CID on Tuesday. Asked if he had offered his resignation to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar or intended to resign, he replied, “That matter does not arise at this point in time and in fact I intend to fight this charge vigorously to ensure that my good name is cleared.”

In a brief interview yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said, “Yes I did have discussions with him (Baker) on the matter which is now before the police and it may not be appropriate to comment. But no, no resignations,” Persad-Bissessar said.

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