Sunday 20 August, 2017

Moonilal: Probe Minister's use of police shooting range

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling for an investigation into the use of the shooting range at the Police Training Academy in St James by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat.

Rambharat revealed this week that he has been visiting the shooting range for his own personal safety since his ministry is responsible for the second largest law enforcement unit in T&T. His wife has accompanied him on these visits.

In a statement, he called on the Police Service to consider the recommendation of the Police Service Social and Welfare Association (PSSWA) for an urgent and independent investigation into the shooting practice by the Rambharat family.

He said the enquiry must reveal who granted permission for the activity by the Minister and his wife at a sensitive and private site, to which civilians are not usually allowed.

“This probe must not be fettered by the interference of Government officials and attempts to compromise senior officers, as was done with respect to “Armygate.”

With Mr. Rambharat’s revelation that he visits the shooting range “from time to time”, the country must be provided with full disclosure of all Government Ministers and family members who access this facility.”

The MP criticised the Minister, calling the visit another “obsession of government ministers with personal security while the rest of the society remains unprotected from rampaging criminals”.

Moonilal said law-abiding citizens are living in fear of what he described as the “horrendous gun culture” that has overtaken the country, while Government Ministers are “recklessly abusing” their respective offices.

The MP said the gun training by Rambharat and his wife is a perpetration of the culture of “Armygate”, where Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi took his adolescent children to the Army’s Camp Cumuto private shooting range where they were photographed with high-powered weapons.

Moonilal also called on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to indicate whether there is an official policy that permits shooting practice, and the Army’s Chief of Defence Staff Captain Hayden Pritchard to reveal pertinent details of this service to Government Ministers.