St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar has written to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley over issues raised in a recent news report as to whether political interference was exerted to remove the head of Special Branch, he told a news conference yesterday at his constituency office at Railway Road, Tunapuna.
Ramadhar said copies of his letter have also been sent to President Anthony Carmona, the Police Service Commission, Police Complaints Authority, Integrity Commission and Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP.)
He said the story in last Sunday’s press had alleged that ACP Ainsley Garrick had been transferred for declining to charge a police constable over alleged links to terrorism. The story alleged that the directive to charge the constable was made after a lengthy meeting of protective services top brass attended by a politician. Ramadhar said the news story made him extremely alarmed at the possibility of misbehaviour in public office and/or perverting the course of justice. Saying no politician must direct any police officer, so as not to breach the idea of the separation of powers, he said his letter has asked Rowley to investigate these allegations.
His letter said that a politician’s instruction to the police to lay charges on someone who has been investigated and absolved would suggest a direct attack on the independence of institutions and a danger to democracy.
He read, “The refusal of the head of Special Branch to follow that instruction must be commended. However the subsequent transfer apparently because of his refusal is unlawful and wrong.”
Ramadhar himself remarked, “For a policeman to be transferred suggests pressure on the police that of they don’t follow instructions they’ll be charged too.” In reply to reporters’ questions, Ramadhar said he had not spoken to any of the parties in the matter, nor issued any deadline to Rowley to do his probe.
Ramadahar, a former leader of the Congress of the People (COP), declined to comment on the party’s upcoming leadership election, where it is unsure if former chairman Nicole Dyer-Griffith will be contesting, against candidates Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and Dr Sharon Gopaul Mc Nicol. Ramadhar said that to reply to queries on this will dilute focus on the main topic of possible undue influence on a policeman.
In an aside he hoped for progress in selecting a new police commissioner, which process he said was overly complicated. He did not think the post holder should be limited to TT nationals, but be chosen from the best.