Trinidad’s AG wants crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Row­ley’s claim of plot to kill him

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

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.

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