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$24 m. in claims for flying squad expenses

Former Flying Squad member Mervyn Cordner.

Former Flying Squad member Mervyn Cordner.

PORT OF SPAIN – Last December, former Flying Squad member Mervyn Cordner, who claimed the Government approved the resurrection of the disbanded police unit, submitted a claim to the Ministry of National Security for $24 million.

Cordner claimed the covert unit, called the New Flying Squad, had incurred the sum over the six-month period – from July to December – in which it allegedly operated.

Among the expenditure were salaries for a 35-member team; rent of $200,000 a month for a location on Factory Road, Piarco; and expenses incurred during alleged field operations.

Cordner claimed a salary of $65,000 a month.

National Security Minister Jack Warner has maintained that the unit was never revived and acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has launched an investigation into the matter.

In June 2012, Warner was appointed Minister of National Security. Shortly after his appointment, Warner said he would explore the possibility of bringing back a “Flying Squad that is sanitised” in his approach to deal with the country’s crime scourge.

But despite earlier reports that Warner only met with Cordner once last July shortly after he became National Security Minister, the Express was reliably informed that Warner met with Cordner for a second time in October to discuss the NFS.

Cordner, the Express understands, had requested a meeting with Warner because he believed that his contact person at the Ministry was leaking intelligence to the people he was investigating. However, there is still an unanswered question as to who exactly authorised Cordner’s investigations and whether they in fact took place.

The Express was told that Warner dismissed the revival of the unit because Williams was not comfortable with making the former Flying Squad members special reserve policemen.

The men, including Cordner, were all tainted in the infamous Scott Drug Report of 1987 and were suspended from police duties. (Express)

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