Kamla: Attacks on DPP meant to distract – PROBE AL-RAWI, NELSON DEAL
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said she is convinced Chief Justice Ivor Archie, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General are part of a plot to frustrate the operations of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Roger Gaspard, meant to rescue government from the fallout over the Vincent Nelson matter.
At the UNC's Monday Night Report, Persad-Bissessar also called on Police Commissioner Erla Harewood Christopher to launch an investigation into the conduct of former AG Faris Al-Rawi in relation to the Nelson matter.
She said, "There is more in the mortar than the pestle. We have to watch this thing. How all this wasn’t happening before? How is it now happening?
"After the DPP discontinued high-profile cases against Ramdeen and Ramlogan and Basdeo Panday, Carlos John and the others in the Piarco matters…All of a sudden this DPP is the worst thing."
She was speaking about the AG and Archie’s recent public criticism of the DPP's office's performance and his call for more resources.
In a public statement last week, Archie accused Gaspard of neglecting aspects of his job, such as failing to flag the shortage of staff in his office and to nominate lawyers to fill vacancies.
On March 11, AG Reginald Armour, SC, claimed the DPP was under performing and also rejected Gaspard’s request for more staff.
Persad-Bissessar said she is convinced there is a deliberate attempt to compromise the DPP for political gain.
“You really have to wonder if there is a whole conspiracy to run the DPP out of office. Because when you do that, then you can get whoever is your puppet DPP, whoever that maybe will become, you (government) give the instructions.”
She accused Archie of being out of touch with the system he leads, saying he could have dealt with the matter privately.
"Who is he to question the need of staff for the office? And (my) Cabinet made that recommendation (to improve the DPP's operations and enhance security) based on reports we got from the DPP's office."
Referring to a Sunday Newsday story on 11 alleged promises to Nelson, Persad-Bissessar said she believed the criticism of the DPP’s office is an attempt to muzzle Gaspard on that matter.
"Rowley is fearful of Gaspard, of the Vincent Nelson scandal. The Rowley government went behind the back of DPP Gaspard and engaged in witness-tampering by offering inducements to Vincent Nelson.
“I call on the Commissioner of Police to investigate witness-tampering on the part of (former attorney general) Faris Al-Rawi and the government.
“The DPP knew nothing of their illegal inducements aided by two PNM senior ‘eat a food’ lawyers."
THE NELSON MATTER
In 2019, Nelson pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption.
In March 2020, he was spared jail time as part of a plea deal with the DPP.
Last October, Gaspard announced the State had dropped corruption charges against Anand Ramlogan, a former attorney general, and Gerald Ramdeen, an ex-UNC senator, because Nelson, a state witness, was unwilling to testify until a civil claim he brought against the state for breach of the indemnity agreement was determined.
Nelson claimed Al-Rawi induced him to give evidence against Ramdeen and Ramlogan.
Last week, Nelson sent a 36-page letter to the DPP listing 11 promises which he said the former AG made in exchange for evidence.
He further asked the DPP to appeal his 2019 conviction and 2020 sentence, for which he was ordered to pay $2.25 million in fines.
Now that the DPP has a statement on the indemnity agreement, Persad-Bissessar is calling on the police to investigate witness-tampering.
"Kamla: Attacks on DPP meant to distract – PROBE AL-RAWI, NELSON DEAL"