Martin Daly____Use

Senior Counsel: Martin Daly

 

Who aborted the process for the appointment of a substantive Commissioner of Police and why?

Is the unprecedented situation of the top leadership positions in the Police Service now being vacant the outcome of the President’s acts and omissions concerning the merit list which the Police Service Commission had settled, but which became diverted from going forward, as a result of the now notorious meeting at President’s House on August 12, 2021?

Meanwhile, how are we holding Vincent Nelson, the disgraced British Queen’s Counsel, to his bargain?

Nelson pleaded guilty in a corruption case in which Anand Ramlogan, SC, a former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago, and a junior counsel have been charged. Nelson is expected to be witness for the prose­cution.

This matter falls within the constitutional remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP), but the current Attorney General, Faris Al-Rawi, on behalf of the Government of Trinidad Tobago, entered into an agreement with Nelson in November 2017.
 
The Agreement relates to the use of a Notarised Statement and supporting bank statements for the purpose of anticipated civil proceedings, which it can be assumed are intended against Ramlogan and others.

The Agreement contains promises made to Nelson in exchange for his Notarised Statement.
 
Surprisingly, one such promise made by Al-Rawi is a recommendation against prosecution of Nelson. The Agreement states that the Attorney General “undertakes to recommend to the DPP that no criminal proceedings can and will be commenced” against Nelson “in respect of any of the matters arising out of the Notarised Statement”.

Nelson was charged in 2019 after the Agreement was made. Subsequent to the appearance of this Agreement, the DPP has made it known that he has a plea agreement with Nelson relating to the criminal proceedings and that he was not a party to any discussions relating to the 2017 AG-Nelson deal. (Newsday, October 2, 2021).

An incisive editorial in the Express made the point that there are legitimate public concerns raised by the AG-Nelson deal, accountability for which cannot be evaded by an invocation of the sub judice rule, not least of all because the Agreement also included a promise that Nelson’s Notarised Statement would not be disclosed, except to the DPP and the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Concealment of the Notarised Statement and the supporting information was even expressly specified to include concealment from Parliament.

Another benefit given to Nelson was a promise that no proceedings would be taken against him for repayment of the fees he earned from government-connected work for the period 2010 to 2017, which spanned two different administrations.
 
Readers may recall that Nelson’s written advice of October 11, 2015, was the basis of the PNM withdrawal of the lawsuit against Malcolm Jones, very shortly after the party re-assumed power in September 2015.

In wrestling terms, one might say the DPP has a half Nelson hold on Nelson; but when AG Al-Rawi tangled with him, Nelson was permitted to pin the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to the mat with a full Nelson hold.

In 2015, when Anand Ramlogan resigned as AG from the UNC government, I commented then that “a high level of political aggression is not compatible with the office of Attorney General, which is the guardian of the public interest in many matters and, therefore, requires a measure of detachment from the extremes of partisan party politics”.

Subsequently, in 2019, I noted that Al-Rawi had been in the news for all the wrong reasons many times during his tenure, and added that “it is not possible to be trusted as the guardian of the public interest while habitually, and sometimes crassly, pursuing a campaign against the Opposition, however righteous such a campaign may be in the eyes of the Attorney General”.

Even more controversies are currently swirling around Al-Rawi, and unrestrained conduct in the political gayelle can turn into conduct unbecoming of the office of AG.

Sadly, the credibility of an even higher office, that of President of the Republic, has now suffered serious damage and the office has become a source of a contagion of distrust, which will taint appointments she makes.

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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has once again got his wires crossed on the media.

Asked by this newspaper to comment on Opposition allegations regarding his purchase of a $1.2 million townhouse in Tobago, Dr Rowley responded with sarcasm, annoyance and deflection, before saying, “I am really not interested in anything they have to say about anything that I or my family PURCHASED.” (His emphasis).

Trinidad and Tobago is a small society. It consists of about 1.4 million souls in a world of 7.9 billion people. A pandemic has struck the world.

At the time of writing, there were 263,510,704 cases and 5,224,655 deaths as a result of this pandemic. In the United States, there were 48,144,799 cases and 777,090 deaths; in India, 34,606,541 cases and 470,115 deaths; in Brazil, 22,105,872 cases and 614,964 deaths.

Nearly three months ago, in a column published on September 5, I called on the Government to consider legislative options in the face of the Delta coronavirus variant threat.

Wouldn’t it be... ’er, amusing if the Farley Augustine-led, Watson Duke-bred Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) canters away to win the Tobago Stakes in tomorrow’s rerun of the House of Assembly election?

Covid-19 brought an exhausting string of events. First, we had to wash our hands, and then we had to wear masks, social distance from all, then lock down. To be vaccinated or not. Fear populated our every moment as we realised how little control we had over our lives.

Last week I wrote of “civilisation receding” in Trinidad and Tobago. I focused on the violent, decadent culture we have here, evidenced in unprecedented rates of horrific murders, child abuse, domestic violence, youth hooliganism and promiscuity, with the entire environment further fouled by the often decadent language of the prime minister, all pointing to a “failure of homes and family life, communities, government and politics”.