Hinds condemns leak of police ‘intelligence’ report on Cummings

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds condemned the leaking of an alleged letter dated 2019 by the Special Branch of the police service which claimed Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings was under probe for an alleged land-grab and hiring of a known gang-leader among other things, addressing at a briefing at his ministry in Port of Spain on Monday.

Regarding former commissioner of police Gary Griffith’s claim of sending the report to the Prime Minister, Hinds said he would not speak for Dr Rowley who was “a very able man.”

Hinds said, “There is a serious difference between intelligence and evidence, as that was an intelligence report.”

He said the Interception of Communications Act recognised that distinction, and gave the example of the police unearthing a plot to plant a bomb and using that intelligence to protect the public. .

“That cannot be used in a court of law. If they want to use any material in a court of law they must apply to a judge.”

He condemned the recent public leaking (by opposition senator Jayanti Lutchmedial).

“When a member of Parliament, a senator, could come and use an intelligence document, however leaked it was and whoever we know who it was issued to and whoever handed it to her…As my Prime Minister reminded me in another conversation, in Tobago they say ‘the goat you hear bawling for water is not the goat who really wants it’…When you heard that in the metaphor ‘goat,’ it is not she you know. Somebody gave her that.”

He said the intention of the leak was to highlight Cummings “in a certain way.”

Hinds said the police would know what to do with the contents of the report. “The police have the information and the police know what to do with all intelligence they get – convert it into evidence. When they do that, we of the Government have no problem with that. The chips will fall wherever they may.

“It is quite burdensome that matters of that nature gets itself in the public domain. I just want to conclude by telling you, as Minister of National Security, I get plenty of reports on all manners of thing, we of the Government have chosen to come down on the side of integrity and ethics and decency and right-thinkingness, because there is a lot if we felt like it we could say, but that is not the way it is done.

“In fact I pain at the fact that never in the history of this country have I ever heard before – and I came out of the police service – a matter that was addressed to a particular officer in the police service, now in the public domain. It is not the way we would do business, but time is longer than twine.”