T&T PM to address corruption scandal todayMonday, February 02, 2015
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Trinidad Express) — Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will today address the witness-tampering allegations made against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Persad-Bissessar will make her statement at 7:30pm from the Diplomatic Centre.
The Prime Minister on Sunday had issued a release stating that she would address the nation at 4:30 pm today. However, the Office of the Prime Minister has since revised the time, but given no reason.
It is alleged that six days before attorney David West was appointed Police Complaints Authority director, Ramlogan asked him to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation lawsuit relating to the failed extradition involving Section 34 applicants Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh, in exchange for his being selected for the job.
Ramlogan, who is now the subject of a criminal investigation, has denied the allegations.
Despite several calls for him to resign, he remained in his position up to last night.
Among the latest organisations to call for him to step down was Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute.
In a press release yesterday, Transparency said the unresolved allegations against Ramlogan may permanently tarnish the Office of the Attorney General.
Noting that the allegations are now the subject of a police investigation, Transparency emphasised that no conclusions as to culpability should be drawn at this time.
"Transparency notes that there is a presumption of innocence, and that all citizens are entitled to full benefit of due process prior to any censure or condemnation."
The group added, though, that the allegations involve issues of "potential serious criminality" and that the highest moral rectitude is demanded of all holders of public office, who must be above any possible reproach at all times.
"This includes the Attorney General, whose Office is constitutionally enshrined, and who has responsibility for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago," the statement continued.
"Under the Westminster system of government, which is espoused by Trinidad and Tobago, in circumstances where questions arise over the conduct of a holder of public office, propriety requires that the office-holder demit office pending the completion of investigations," Transparency stated.
Arima Mayor George Hadeed also called for Ramlogan to resign.
In a press release on Friday, he said both Ramlogan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade Mark cannot remain in office without bringing their organisations into further disrepute.
"The only course open to both gentlemen is to resign their offices in an attempt to restore some dignity to our Parliament and our Executive and to bring a semblance of the dignity which the population demands from the holders of these high offices," said Hadeed.
On Saturday, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) expressed concern about the matter and called for Ramlogan to step down.
"It is the view of LATT that the police investigation into the conduct of the Attorney General has the ability to adversely affect and undermine the public perception of and confidence in the Office of the Attorney General," said the Law Association in a news release.
"In the circumstances, it is LATT’s considered view that Mr Ramlogan SC must forthwith step down as Attorney General," it added.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login