Chief Sec allegess plot to bring down THA: ‘COPS TAKING PNM ORDERS’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Farley Augustine –

TOBAGO House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has alleged that the Prime Minister, the Commissioner of Police, the PNM Tobago Council political leader and a Tobago contractor were among several people behind the police raids at his official residence on Tuesday as well as at the home of a former chief administrator and other THA officials over the weekend.

And he is calling for an independent inquiry into the raids, alleging “This matter now implicates several high-ranking officials.

“The investigation must be done independent of these office holders,” Augustine said on Wednesday at a special THA sitting in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough.

He said he intends to write to several international agencies, including Caricom and the United Nations about the matter.

“The Tobago House of Assembly will for the first time, prepare a shadow report on human rights and have it submitted to the United Nations.”

Augustine said ironically, he has already instructed his attorneys to write to the Commissioner of Police, Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of the Police Complaints Authority and “any other agency responsible for carrying out justice in this country.”

He alleged the search warrants were obtained through “bribery, improper political influence, corruption, police misbehaviour and other forms of police misconduct.”

Augustine, in an explosive, 90-minute statement, sought the permission of the presiding officer to play several audio clips of meetings between him and a man earlier this month, which he said, provided the “basis of my suspicions.”

Augustine, who said he was initially reluctant to meet the man, described him as a “former political colleague from when I served on the executive of the PDP (Progressive Democratic Patriots).”

He said the man, whom he further described as a whistleblower, claimed he had information about the controversial leaked audio recording, which has been making the rounds on social media since May 23.

Augustine said the first meeting took place on July 7 at the Chief Secretary’s official residence in Lowlands.

“The gentleman came and made some startling claims that at first, I chose not to believe.”

Augustine said at the end of the conversation, he prayed with the man and advised him to seek a lawyer for advice. But he said the man insisted they meet again.

He said during another meeting on July 12, the man made even more startling claims that “I did not take seriously because I felt someone was trying to set me up.”

Augustine added, “But when the warrants and production orders started popping up, I realised that some aspects of his story can very well be corroborated by what was in those documents.”

He said he recorded the meetings with the man without his knowledge.

“I will share those claims here because I have no confidence that the police, who is implicated, will do anything about it.”

Dr Keith Rowley –

In the first clip, Augustine claimed the man said that the audio was leaked from a PDP and not a THA meeting.

“This will explain why the executive of a political party and not the executive council of the THA was featured in these warrants and production orders. As a matter of fact, Madam Presiding Officer (Abby Taylor), I was of the belief that it was one of our government meetings until this whistleblower came to me.”

In another clip, the man claimed he was approached by the PNM Tobago leader, other party affiliates and a contractor “and we planned to discredit yourself primarily and the current administration.”

The man claimed he was taken to Trinidad where he met with the police and gave two witness submissions.

“Last week they came to Tobago and subsequent to that, would have been me going to Trinidad this week.”

He said the man also claimed he was “angry, bitter due to all that happened.

“I behaved irresponsible, irrational and am now trying to correct the wrong that was done,” Augustine claimed the man said.

The man, who alleged he has received death threats, claimed he was being targeted.

Augustine said the man claimed he got “missed calls after missed calls and I have been ignoring them because I am carded to be in Trinidad this week.

“They are trying to get me to go to Trinidad to do that final thing. They call it a statutory declaration by a JP.”

He said based on the man’s statements, high-ranking public officers, including the so-called independent office of the Commissioner of Police, are part of a “network that is illegally gathering information on citizens and political opponents.”

The man also claimed he met with the Prime Minister twice.

Augustine said, “It is worrying that so-called independent public officers can be co-opted to be part of a network to target and destroy political opponents.”

He added the whistleblower also claimed that a police inspector, in whose names the warrants were made out and who is leading the investigation, “sat in the same room with the Prime Minister.

“This information was brought to me before the warrants were even issued. And it was only after seeing the warrants I decided there must be some truth to what the gentleman was saying.”