|PCA: We did not leak report |
By JADA LOUTOO Thursday, April 17 2014
AS IT seeks to fend off attacks on its integrity, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) says the leaking of its report relating to investigations surrounding the alleged establishment of a new Flying Squad, would not serve its interests.
“There was no need to leak the report as the PCA’s powers include authority to make public disclosure of its findings in any matter. This has been done with several matters in the past. In this instance, the PCA chose not to place any of its findings in the public domain and the report was delivered directly to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” the PCA said in a statement.
The PCA has come under attack from several quarters after the contents of its report on the new Flying Squad were revealed in Parliament by Opposition Senator Faris Al- Rawi, last week.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has questioned how the PCA report could have made its way to an Opposition Senator and the media but not the Prime Minister, Attorney General or National Security Minister.
According to the PCA, “It is extremely unfortunate that the Attorney General sought to suggest that the manner in which the report was introduced into the public domain contaminates the report’s content and findings.”
The PCA stressed that it is not a political entity and did not exercise any of its functions with a political agenda. “Further, it does not have the power to clear any party, as suggested by the AG. The political connecting of the dots is conjecture on the part of the AG and has nothing to do with the PCA. It is the Office of the DPP only that has the power to make decisions based on findings and recommendations of the PCA,” the statement said.
The PCA, of which Gillian Lucky is director, said to insulate it from political interference and bolster its independence, it has retained the services of a Senior Counsel.
“The PCA made its findings based on the inquiries which it undertook on the evidence gathered and on Senior Counsel’s advice. In exercising its functions, the PCA did not allow any external factors to compromise its independence and objectivity,” the statement said.
It further noted that the PCA did not have to submit any of its reports to the Prime Minister or the National Security Council, as the statement quoted Section 19 of the Police Complaints Authority Act, Chapter 15:05.
The PCA statement also noted statements by the executive of the Police Social and Welfare Association saying the association does not understand provisions of the PCA Act. Association head Sgt Anand Ramesar said by the leaking the Flying Squad report, the PCA was compromised and called for Lucky to resign as director.
“The Association and the public are assured that the PCA holds itself to its statutory obligation of confidentiality and that information obtained during the exercise of its functions has never been the subject of any breach,” the PCA statement said.
In an almost immediate response, Ramlogan condemned what he viewed as attacks by the PCA on the police association and his office, saying it was the PCA that did not understand or appreciate concerns raised.
“The PCA has clearly missed the mark as it barely mentioned the single, critical burning issue about the leak of its confidential, investigative report into the establishment of a Flying Squad to the PNM. A sensitive report with implications for National Security would be in the hands of the Chairman alone with restricted, limited access given to others. That the leaking of this report to the PNM is of no concern to Ms Lucky to prompt an immediate investigation into the leak is disappointing, unsatisfactory and highly suspicious,” Ramlogan said.
He also noted that section 20(3) of the PCA Act mandates the body to submit its report to the Minister of National Security. According to the section cited by the AG, “The Authority may on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister conduct an investigation and submit a special report to the Minister who shall cause it to be laid in Parliament in accordance with subsection (2).”
“The PCA cannot operate as a runaway horse but must be guided by the law. It must be fair to the many hardworking and decent police officers who risk life, limb and property to protect and serve our country on a daily basis,” Ramlogan said.
He also advised the PCA be careful that “it does not do more harm than good by appearing to be over-zealous in its investigations against police officers. It must strike the right balance in the public interest so that police officers will not become too fearful about performing their duties.”