Trinidad’s AG wants criminal investigation into Rowley’s claim of plot to kill him
Attorney General Garvin Nicolas gave Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley until yesterday to provide information regarding allegations that the coalition People’s Partnership government had hired “their friends” to assassinate him. Rowley, speaking at a public meeting of his People’s National Moment (PNM) in Tobago last weekend, accused the government of wanting him dead.
“First time in Trinidad and Tobago, the Opposition Leader is under attack from the government. And when I’m not under attack from their friends who they hire to kill me, I’m under attack from their friends who they hire to lie about me.”
Rowley told supporters that a few months ago he had informed people in the country that for the first time “in my 30 years (in public office) I feared for my personal safety”.
But in a letter dated August 13, Nicholas said he regarded the statement by Rowley as “a serious accusation which expressly and/or implies that the government has hired “their friends” to murder you.
“As the guardian of the public interest and a member of the government, I feel compelled to seek further and better particulars about your outrageous and scandalous open-ended allegation,” Nicholas wrote, noting that “where however false and baseless allegations are made … no effort shall be spared to vindicate the good name and reputation” of the members of the government.
Nicholas, a candidate for the United National Congress (UNC)-led coalition People’s Partnership in the September 7 general election, said Rowley, who is seeking to become prime minister, was “highly irresponsible” in making the unsubstantiated allegations. Nicholas said he was “anxiously” awaiting the evidence and justification for Rowley’s statement, adding, “Should I fail to hear from you within 48 hours, I shall assume that your statements were false and baseless and proceed to call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Commissioner of Police to launch an immediate criminal investigation into your conduct”.
Nicholas said he was also calling upon the Integrity Commission to probe the allegation in keeping with the Integrity in Public Life Act.
Earlier this week, National Security Minister Carl Alfonso, who had indicated he was unaware of the plot to assassinate the Opposition Leader, said he had now been “officially informed’ by the police and expressed concern at the alleged threat coming during a heated election campaign. “We must all be concerned as to what is developing in our politics,” he said.
PNM public relations officer Faris Al Rawi, said he was astonished at the government’s “cavalier” response to the allegation and accused Communication Minister Vasant Bharath of politicising the matter.
He said the threat assessment was made by the police and that Rowley had nothing to do about beefing up security around him.
“Reports of an alleged assassination came into the public domain by way of the media’s observation of seriously increased security provided to Dr Rowley by agencies of the state … and reports had not been put out as political fodder in an election season by the PNM,” he added.
- Jamaica Observer
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.