Friday 25 September, 2020

Young: I did not know about Anand Ramlogan, Gerald Ramdeen's arrests

Trinidad and Tobago and the international community has been stirring with discussions about the arrests of former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Opposition Senator and Attorney, Gerald Ramdeen, on Wednesday.

Ramlogan was arrested at the Piarco International Airport as he was about to leave the country for legal matters while Ramdeen turned himself into police hours later.

Both men were held in connection with investigations into corruption matters.

On Thursday, National Security Minister Stuart Young addressed these arrests at the post-cabinet news conference.

He claims that as Minister, he nor the Government had any knowledge of the impending arrests.

“The answer is no. I may get a briefing after a fact that a high profile person has been charged but there is no consultation with me as Minister of National Security, before the fact. There is no meeting of myself with the police, before the fact of any of these matters. That did not take place."

Minister Young noted that while the Government was not directly involved with the investigation, it gathered evidence and handed it over to the police. He noted, however, that the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service are the only powers qualified to lay criminal charges and start criminal proceedings against accused parties.

“The Office of the Attorney General, as you know, I was a part of that for a while, had done certain work. I mean, part of being in Government is if you know there is wrongdoing etcetera, what you do is like every other citizen, you can gather evidence and then that can be passed over to law enforcement and law enforcement will then drive the process."

Meanwhile, the National Security Minister sought to assure the public that the People’s National Movement is not exempt from any such proceedings.

“Once it is this administration, regardless of who it is that has broken the law, if there is any assistance that we can provide, it would be provided.”

"I understand why the Opposition is trying to raise red flags and say, well look there is a fire on the hill as opposed to a fire in their current camp. The AV Drilling matter, it is on record that senior council Deobrah Peake who is the senior council retained by then Petrotrin, when she was presented with it, advised Petrotrin and Petrotrin did send all of the information to the Director of Public Prosecutions, that's as far as it goes."

He said the Opposition is free to do what the Government has done, which is to gather evidence and present it to the relevant authorities.

These arrests follow the recent debate in Parliament on the Whistleblower Bill, 2018.

Meanwhile, Young noted that Queen's Counsel Vincent Nelson went to court under the Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement Bill, 2017, that was passed by the Parliament. He said QC Nelson entered the plea bargaining process, has pleaded guilty and sentencing will take place soon. 

He could not confirm what information QC Nelson provided to aid in the case against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.

Nelson is accused of engaging in bribery, among other charges, in the same incidents as both men.

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