Saddam Hosein: Integrity Commission must probe Allan Warner’s FUL application

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein. – File photo

SADDAM HOSEIN, Barataria/San Juan MP, called on July 7 for the Integrity Commission to probe the applications of businessman Allan Warner for a firearm user’s licence (FUL) and a quarry blasting permit. He was addressing a briefing at UNC headquarters in Chaguanas.

Hosein said Warner was a close friend and business partner of the Prime Minister and was recently charged under the Mines and Minerals Act for processing aggregate without a licence and is now on bail.

The MP said Dr Rowley had bought a townhouse in Warner’s Inezgate development in Tobago and the two men each had an interest in Alma Farms in Tobago.

Companies linked to Warner had got construction contracts at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Tobago and at the Tobago House of Assembly, Hosein said.

He said Rowley had denied ever trying to fast-track Warner’s FUL application but has not denied a story on Saturday that reported a series of purported WhatsApp messages between him and then police commissioner Gary Griffith, discussing the status of Warner’s FUL application.

Hosein said he would like to ask Rowley if he had asked for an FUL status report for anyone else, or only for Warner.

“When mothers are denied food cards and persons are denied disability grants – and persons are killed in this country – do you send WhatsApp messages to the families and express your sympathies and condolences?

“Do you ask the ministers to get involved to get a grieving or a single mother a food card or a grant to take care of her children? No.

“But what we are seeing here are messages between what purports to be yourself (Rowley) and a former commissioner of police with respect to an FUL application.”

Allan Warner, founder of the Warner Group of Companies, as he left the St Joseph Police Station on July 4, after he was released on $100,000 bail on a charge of processing aggregate without a licence. – Photo by Roger Jacob

He asked how many other people’s FUL applications were languishing at the CoP’s office, so they had to go to the Firearms Appeal Board and then the law courts.

Hosein read from several newspaper reports of applicants complaining or taking legal action against a tardy consideration of their requests.

Saying the award of an FUL was up to a police commissioner under the Firearms Act (section 17), Hosein said, “Why is the Prime Minister getting involved in this, if it is true?”

Citing alleged WhatsApp messages between Rowley and Griffith, in which the former promised to deliver an FUL to Warner once it had been issued by Griffith, Hosein asked, sarcastically, if Rowley had reduced the PM’s position to the status of a caddy boy.

“Who really running this country? Is the PM a caddy boy of Mr Warner?

“The Prime Minister’s defence is a blasted waste of time,” Hosein said before moving onto the topic of whether Warner had lacked a blasting permit.

With a media report showing purported WhatsApp messages between former minister of national security (and now energy minister) Stuart Young and Griffith discussing the status of Warner’s application for a blasting permit, Hosein said a police commissioner was not under the control of the minister of national security.

He wondered how Young had known about Warner’s blasting permit.

“The Minister of National Security has no role to play with the granting of a blasting permit,” Hosein added. “It is none of his blasted business.”

Hosein said Warner was quoted by another newspaper as saying he did not ask for help.

“So were they acting on their own? That makes it worse!”

He said Rowley bought his townhouse from Warner for $1.2 million, at a hefty discount of about $500,000, at about the same time as Warner’s application for a blasting permit.

Hosein said, “I am calling on the Integrity Commission today to launch an investigation into this entire matter for this to take its natural course with respect to the Integrity in Public Life Act.”

Accusing Rowley of an unhealthy focus on legal firearms – despite a prevalence in TT of illegal firearms – Hosein asked why robbery victims must sue the CoP to get their FULs.

Hosein said Rowley had recently claimed a coup was being planned by the leadership of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) despite the statutory control by Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds. The MP called for the firing of Hinds.

“The Prime Minister is telling the country that there is an attempted coup or a destabilisation of the country when the Minister of National Security had oversight.

“Right after the Prime Minister makes that remarkable statement in Parliament, the United States Government issues an advisory warning their citizens of travelling to TT.”

In any other country, after such news headlines of WhatsApp messages, ministers would have resigned, he said.

Hosein said last Friday the Government had brought the Judicial and Legal Services Bill to fuse the offices of State Solicitor and Solicitor General, but had not consulted attorneys on staff there. He said while the Government rushed the bill through the House of Representatives last Friday, the Senate debate had adjourned as soon as Senator Wade Mark had spoken against it.