Rowley: PM took wrong advice

Surajdeen Persad.
Surajdeen Persad.

PORT OF SPAIN — The scandal surrounding the appointment of Reshmi Ramnarine as head of the Security Intelligence Agency in 2011 was as a result of a recommendation made by a senior superintendent of police directly to the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley said on Tuesday night.

Rowley read a letter at a People’s National Movement public meeting at Hi-Lo car park, St. Augustine, which he said was written by then Special Branch acting senior superintendent Surajdeen Persad to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on October 15, 2010. The subject was: Security Intelligence Agency, Re Illegal Tapping of Telephones.

In 2011, Ramnarine, who was a junior technician at the SIA, was appointed to head the organisation with an embellished resume.

She resigned amidst the controversy and a year later changed her name to Shashi Rehka.

On Tuesday, Rowley claimed Persad, unknown to the commissioner of police (at the time, Canadian national Dwayne Gibbs), wrongfully reported to the prime minister bypassing all his superiors.

The prime minister, he said, chose to take the advice of a “mid-level police officer” above that of the people on her national security council, which included the head of the Army, Coast Guard and Customs and Excise.

Rowley noted that the recommendations made in the letter to the prime minister were followed through – including the appointment of Ramnarine and the firing of over 25 SIA employees, including former head Nigel Clement. (Express)

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