AG may refer spying scandal to the DPP

“I am reviewing this sordid affair with great anxiety to determine whether I should refer this matter to the DPP for him to explore the possibility of laying appropriate criminal charges and prosecuting those responsible for this unprecedented and dangerous intrusion,” a tough-talking Ramlogan said in a telephone interview, one day after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar revealed in the Parliament that several key national figures, including President George Maxwell Richards, were under surveillance by the SIA for several years.

Ramlogan said the scandal had breached the sacred social pact and understanding between the State and its citizens.

“It strikes at the heart of the democracy and rule of law. It devalues the concept of a free society,” he stated.

Speaking from a personal standpoint, Ramlogan, whose phones were also wiretapped in the SIA operation, said the incident left a “sour taste in my mouth.”

Ramlogan said at the time the operation was conceived, he was an attorney in private practice pursuing several high-profile matters against former Prime Minister Patrick Manning and the Government.

His clients, he recalled, included former chief executive officer of the San Fernando City Corporation Marlene Coudray, the Maha Sabha and activists Devant Maharaj and Inshan Ishmael, all of whom were subjected to secret surveillance.

“This is a grave concern that citizens who had cases against Mr Manning and the Government that their phones and that of their lawyer had been tapped,” said Ramlogan.

“Such sacred and confidential conversations, which would have been available to the defendant, compromises the justice system itself.”

The AG said during such conversations, litigation strategies would have been discussed.

“And the defendant would have outmanoeuvred me,” Ramlogan said, calling on the Law Association to intervene in the matter.

Ramlogan said the scandal also raised more questions than answers as it related to the identity of “Mr Big” and the resources that had been pumped into the Special Anti-Crime Unit and the SIA.

“The resources that had been given to these organisations amounted to hundreds of millions and when one compares the inadequacy of resources given to the Police Service one has to ask why?”

The AG also recalled that a senior officer once assigned to the Anti-Kidnapping Squad resigned to take up a security position at State-owned Petrotrin, reportedly because of inadequate resources.

“They were using archaic equipment to solve kidnappings. Compared to the highly sophisticated ones used by SAUTT, one can only conclude that solving kidnappings was never a priority for the former administration,” he said.

Ramlogan said he was appalled by the fact that the innocent children of the prominent figures named in the “spy list” were “caught in a web of political intrigue to satisfy one man’s curiosity. “That, to me, is unbelievable and unforgivable.”

The sons of Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner as well as former Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma’s son, Shiv, among others, were said to be on the “spy list.”

President of the Law Association Martin Daly, SC, could not be reached for comment.


"AG may refer spying scandal to the DPP"

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