Kamla calls on Caricom to clear air on Brent Thomas ‘abduction’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Gun dealer Brent Thomas after a court appearance on May 10 at the Watefront Centre, Port of Spain. – ROGER JACOB

OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has written to Caricom Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett about the Brent Thomas matter.

Her letter was copied to current Caricom chairman, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis and, Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (Impacs) executive director, Lt Col Michael Jones.

In a statement on Saturday, Persad-Bissessar reiterated that this is a “matter of grave concern and importance to the region.”

Persad-Bissessar referred to a statement made by Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall QC in Barbados’ parliament on May 9 which identified the involvement of two regional bodies – Caricom Impacs and the Regional Security System (RSS), based in Barbdos, in the “abduction” of Thomas from Barbados on October 5, 2022.

The Transnational Organised Crime Unit, which operates out of the Ministry of National Security, had made the request for the foreign assistance, Marshall said.

In his statement, Marshall disagreed with the term “abduction” used by Justice Devindra Rampersad in a judgment in favour of Thomas on April 25.

Persad-Bissessar told Barnett, “We need your guidance on a policy framework that supports the rule of law, respects the sovereignty of our independent nations while ensuring public and citizen safety and respect for their constitutional rights.”

In a statement on Friday, Persad-Bissessar bluntly rejected the Prime Minister’s assertion that she was out of place to send a formal letter to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, requesting a full inquiry into the Thomas matter.

She advised Dr Rowley, “Stop worrying about my letter, start dealing with the issues affecting citizens and call the local government elections now.”

Reiterating the UNC’s view that firearms dealer Thomas was “abducted” from Barbados last year, Persad-Bissessar was adamant that she was within her rights to write to Mottley.

“It is in this regard that I wrote to the Prime Minister of Barbados urging her, in the interests of both our nations, to launch a full inquiry into the matter.”

She claimed Rowley’s objection to her letter, “highlights his laziness at his job and contempt for citizens.”

Persad-Bissessar is demanding full disclosure on the Thomas matter.

She said Government should be concentrating on fighting crime and poverty instead of “concentrating on instead of attempting to suppress transparency, freedom of speech, democratic principles and the rule of law.”

Thomas, 61, a gun dealer, had travelled to Barbados en route to the US visit his cardiologist. Investigating officer informed police in Barbados that Thomas was wanted for selling guns illegally in the region and copies of warrants for his arrest for possession of grenades and automatic rifles were sent over.

Thomas was taken from his hotel room at the Marriot in Bridgetown, handcuffed, and kept in isolation until a military aircraft picked him up at Grantley Adams International Airport and returned to TT. A judge has stay his criminal case and ordered the police to return the items they seized. The Attorney General has since lodged an appeal.