Card skimming on the rise, police warn*

RELEASED: Totaram Dookhie

ACTING Assistant Commissioner of Police Totaram Dookhie, who was arrested by officers of the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) yesterday, has been released from custody without charge.

Speaking with the Express yesterday, Renuka Rambhajan, one of the attorneys representing Dookhie, said, 'The interview ended at 1.40 p.m. and my client was told he was free to leave. The interview was conducted by acting Insp Petty and based on what was presented were two spurious allegations based on unspecified dates, times and location. My client gave a voluntary interview which upon completion he was immediately released.'

The Express understands that three police vehicles carrying ten police officers arrived at Dookhie's home in Tableland around 8.30 a.m. where he was informed that he was being placed under arrest in connection with allegations dating back to 2017 and 2018.

The police team was led by Insp Subero.

Dookhie was then escorted to PSB's Cipero Street, San Fernando, office where he awaited questioning in the company of his attorneys Rambhajan, Karina Singh and Kiel Taklalsingh. He is also being represented by attorney Jagdeo Singh.

The attorneys are concerned that a senior officer involved in the arrest yesterday morning was himself arrested last year by Dookhie.

Dookhie resumed policing duties last week, having been sent on immediate vacation leave by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith earlier this year. He is now stationed at Camp Cumuto.

Additionally, Dookhie was the lead investigator into allegations made by Cocorite resident Cecil Skeete that Griffith had choked him at the Four Roads Police Station.

Skeete's investigative file was handed over to Deputy Commissioner of Police Harold Phillip on December 19 by DCP Jayson Forde.

Phillip then passed the file to PSB and by extension Dookhie for investigation.

The file was subsequently handed back to Phillip on instructions from a senior police officer.

Skeete had alleged that Griffith assaulted and threatened him with a gun whilst in police custody at the police station last year. He was shot dead on December 29.

The PSB, led by Dookhie at the time, had sought an interview with Skeete shortly after copies of a sworn affidavit appeared in the media.

In the four-page sworn affidavit signed on November 26 and stamped by commissioner of affidavits Cindy Sinanan, Skeete said although Griffith thumped a desk at the Four Roads Police Station in June last year, at no time did Griffith touch him.

This is in contrast to what he told the Sunday Express during an interview in Cocorite on November 12, 2019.

Following the Skeete matter, Dookhie, along with other officers, was transferred from the PSB.

He was initially transferred to the Southern Division. However, this was rescinded and he was told to proceed on immediate vacation leave which he had accumulated .

The Express understands he was also ordered to hand over all files dealing with high-profile investigations, inclusive of the ongoing corruption court matter involving former minister Marlene McDonald, her husband and others.


IS Barry Padarath in or out?

The People’s National Movement (PNM) is considering mounting a legal challenge to the candidacy of Barry Padarath, the United National Congress (UNC) Princes Town candidate for the 2020 general election.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday expressed satisfaction with the findings of the pre-election 2020 poll conducted by Nigel Henry which showed the People’s National Movement (PNM) five per cent ahead of its main rival, the United National Congress (UNC).

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her “minions” in the United National Congress (UNC) have now “stepped over the line” by attacking the father and brother of National Security Minister Stuart Young.

Young said so yesterday at a news conference at the Ministry of National Security in Port of Spain.

Covid-19 has caused a massive shift in what’s uppermost in the minds of citizens, with the pandemic now trumping crime as the major worry.

“Concern over the coronavirus pandemic has overtaken concern over crime, which had previously polled as the most pressing national issue for almost a decade.

AS the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb daily in Trinidad and Tobago, a staff member and a child at the St Jude’s School for Girls have tested positive for the virus, while the Montrose Government Primary School has been ordered closed after a pupil was exposed to a contact of a Covid-19 case.