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Not good enough, PM

By Clint Chan Tack Thursday, May 1 2014

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley and former Attorney General (AG) Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj last night slammed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s decision to advise AG Anand Ramlogan to lead an inquiry of concerns by former SG Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell and the Prison Officers Association about alleged wrongdoing in prison litigation.

Ramlogan is to meet Justice Minister Emmanuel George, Prisons Commissioner Conrad Barrow, Inspector of Prisons Daniel Khan, Acting Solicitor-General (SG) Carol Hernandez and the Chief State Solicitor Christophe Grant on the issues raised by Donaldson-Honeywell and the association.

In a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, Persad-Bissessar said this meeting would “determine the best way forward in ensuring all concerns are addressed.”

Asked if he was satisfied with Persad-Bissessar, Rowley declared: “Well certainly not. The statement issued by the Prime Minister makes this matter even more troubling because one has to ask why is the Prime Minister afraid of having an investigation into matters which are clearly requiring an investigation.”

Reiterating that this matter must be investigated by “an independent, competent judicial investigator,” Rowley said: “In putting the matter to be investigated by the AG, the Prime Minister is asking for a himself to himself.”

Charging that “all of the problems surrounding this calamity “either relate to the actions of the Ministry of the AG or Ramlogan’s own decision-making in some instances, Rowley asked: “How could the Prime Minister be putting this matter back to the AG to be investigated by him?”

Claiming Persad-Bissessar is “trying to bury this matter and cover up for the AG,” Rowley declared: “We in the Opposition and all right thinking citizens must have none of it.”

Declaring that one of Persad-Bissessar’s duties as Prime Minister is to investigate allegations of criminal conduct in the Ministry of the AG “and persons associated with that office,” Rowley said: “ We are going to demand that she does that or the people will take their own action of dissatisfaction.”

Recalling that Donaldson-Honeywell made it clear she has not withdrawn her call for an investigation, Rowley said he would outline the Opposition’s next move at a People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting in Tunapuna later in the evening. At a PNM public meeting in Longdenville on Monday, Rowley vowed to lead a public march if no independent investigation was held into this matter and Ramlogan was not removed from office, pending the outcome of that investigation.

Maharaj said he was not surprised by “the Prime Minister’s inaction.” He claimed this showed the Prime Minister was “quite prepared to condone illegal behaviour.” “The only way forward is to investigate this matter and those who are guilty of wrong doing must be removed,” Maharaj declared.

Saying that civil society will continue to stand up against actions such as these and claiming Persad-Bissessar is impotent to do anything against Ramlogan, Maharaj said all this will do is further erode the credibility of the People’s Partnership Government in the eyes of the population.

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