T&T PM lodges formal complaint with president

PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar shakes hands with President Anthony Carmona.

PORT OF SPAIN — Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon yesterday cancelled a news conference scheduled for today, minutes after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar met with President Anthony Carmona at President’s House, Port-of-Spain, to officially complain about Gordon’s meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

The Integrity Commission had indicated earlier yesterday that Gordon was expected to defend the so-called secret meeting with Rowley. But soon after the PM’s meeting with Carmona, the commission sent out a news release cancelling the event and saying Gordon would instead issue a statement on the matter today. It is unclear whether Gordon would also resign, but some sources have indicated that his resignation was unlikely.

Rowley met with Gordon on May 15 at his private residence in Glencoe, five days before he presented a motion of no confidence in the PM for debate in the House of Representatives. It was during his presentation that Rowley produced 31 e-mails related to the Section 34 fiasco which purportedly came from addresses belonging to the PM, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government and Works Minister Suruj Rambachan and other government officials.

The PM and her colleagues immediately denied any knowledge of the e-mails and claimed they were a fabrication. However, the PM wrote to Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams asking him to probe the matter. Williams subsequently appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson to investigate the e-mails.

The police probe is ongoing and Richardson and his team have interviewed several people and obtained the devices of some of the people of interest to their probe. Yesterday, Persad-Bissessar arrived at President’s House around 2:15 p.m. for the meeting, which lasted about 50 minutes. The prime minister emerged from the meeting telling reporters it was “cordial and frank” but that she could not speak about it.

“I raised my concerns with His Excellency and am not at liberty to disclose the details of our discussion,” she added.

Asked about the appointment of members to serve on the Integrity Commission, Persad-Bissessar said the president “indicated that he is in the process of putting together that commission and we should be hearing from him before the end of the week”.

On the police investigations into the Section 34 e-mails, Persad-Bissessar said she received a letter from the police “a couple days ago, where they are seeking information on the make and type of device”.

She said that matter was referred to her attorney, Israel Khan, SC, for his response. The prime minister said the police had not as yet requested an interview on the matter. She used the opportunity to deny that before yesterday, her last meeting with the president was on May 8. (Guardian)

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