Law Association calls on Attorney General to step down
The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) Saturday called on Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to “step down” immediately as police investigate allegations of witness tampering against him.
“It is the view of the LATT that the police investigation into the conduct of the Attorney General has the ability to adversely affect and undermine the public perception of and confidence in the Office of the Attorney General.
“In the circumstances, it is LATT’s considered view that Mr. Ramlogan SC, must forthwith step down as Attorney General,,” LATT said in a statement.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams confirmed that the authorities have launched an investigation into Ramlogan after receiving written complaint from the Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West.
Police said that West had presented Williams with a signed statement making an allegation of ‘an attempt to pervert the course of justice’ against Ramlogan.
The allegation stem from a law suit Ramlogan has filed against Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley as a result of statements made during a news conference relating to the failed extradition involving Section 34 applicants Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh.
The Sunday Express newspaper had reported that Ramlogan had refused to confirm or deny an allegation that six days before West was appointed PCA director, he asked him to withdraw his witness statement in support of Rowley in the defamation lawsuit.
The defamation lawsuit stemmed from statements Ramlogan claimed Rowley made during a news conference on November 8, 2011, relating to Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh’s ruling in which he quashed the Attorney General’s decision to order the extradition of Ferguson and Galbaransingh, arising out of the Piarco International Airport enquiry.
West said that the newspaper report contained allegations against Ramlogan on which he was asked to provide a comment by the newspaper.
But in a subsequent statement last Sunday, Ramlogan said while he was and remained reluctant to comment on a matter in which he is the claimant that is awaiting trial before the High Court “I was only aware that Mr. West had filed a witness statement in this case when it was served on my attorneys on December 22nd, 2014. The said witness statement had in fact been filed in court a mere two days before.
“It is impossible for me to have asked Mr. West on October 31, 2014 to withdraw a witness statement which only came into existence almost two months later. I could not have possibly asked Mr. West to not give evidence against me in favour of Dr. Rowley’s defence in exchange for him being appointed chairman of the PCA as this appointment is made by the president of the country and not the AG,” he added.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, who returned to the country on Thursday, told reporters that she had not yet spoken to Ramlogan as well as National Security Minister Gary Griffith on the allegations.
“I want to give the assurance that I will do what I think is right because it’s the right thing to do, as I’ve always done. There will be no friendship or friends or family or partisan interest but instead I will be looking at what is to be in the best interest of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Persad Bissessar, who confirmed that she had received communication from the police on the allegation.
In its statement, LATT said it notes with “grave concern” the allegations made by West and called on the police to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation.
“To prevent erosion of confidence in the Office of the Attorney General, LATT urges that the investigations which have been embarked upon by the Police Service of Trinidad and Tobago, be conducted thoroughly and expeditiously in the interest of the national community.
“Once the investigations are completed, any and all appropriate legal steps should be taken thereafter with due expediency. LATT makes no comment on the innocence or guilt of the Attorney General and awaits the outcome of the police investigation,” the statement said.