(Trinidad Express) Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was yesterday deemed to be an unfit leader who must tender his resignation in the face of the emailgate controversy.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan and National Security adviser to the Prime Minister Gary Griffith yesterday asserted that they were right from day one—that the e-mails never existed—and the statements from acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) Stephen Williams vindicated their position.
However, they further called on the police to speed up their investigations and go to the servers to prove without a shadow of a doubt that the e-mails were false.
Williams, in an exclusive interview with the Express published yesterday, said based on the documents before him, the e-mails, which were exposed by Rowley on May 20 in Parliament, were fake.
The alleged e-mail exchange between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Ramlogan, Rambachan and Griffith points to a alleged plot to cover up the Section 34 debacle, an attempt to bribe the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by using the Chief Justice to offer him the post of a High Court judge and an attempt to intimidate a reporter.
However, while Williams dismissed the authenticity of the e-mails he also said the content was under probe.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson is leading the investigation.
Ramlogan said yesterday he was neither surprised nor satisfied by the statements made by the acting CoP.
“I am not surprised because I know that these fake e-mails are a political fabrication. I am not satisfied because this investigation is dragging on too long and the police seem preoccupied with devices when they should be concentrating on verifying whether these e-mails were sent from the primary source which is the servers,” he said.
Ramlogan said all persons involved have indicated their willingness to give consent so that Google can be approached to ascertain whether these e-mails exist.
“To date, the police have not indicated their willingness to do this and it is difficult to understand their reluctance to go directly to the source of our e-mail accounts to get the truth,” said Ramlogan.
“The devices are an unnecessary ‘sideshow’ that has become a political circus because of the absence of any proper procedure of protocol by the police to deal with these devices in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the information that is on it,” he added.
Attorneys representing Persad-Bissessar, Ramlogan and Rambachan have advised their clients to not hand over their devices to the police in the absence of “proper protocols”.
Griffith was the only person to hand over his cellphone and hard drive.
Ramlogan said the police have not yet provided the requested protocols.
“We have made proposals as to what international best practice is and they have not responded. So I’m at the mercy of the police living in hope that they will hire an international IT expert who can get pass this pappyshow of the devices and conduct the real investigation by approaching the primary source which is the server,” he said.
Ramlogan said he has nothing to fear and was confident that “absolute vindication” will come, not from the CoP but from Google itself.
Rowley must step down, he said.
“Dr Rowley is in the political departure lounge and it is only a matter of time before his scandalous political conspiracy will lead to his downfall. He is reckless and irresponsible and unfit for leadership and I now understand why Mr Manning described him as a hooligan,” said Ramlogan.
Rambachan told the Express he took it upon himself to write to Google to query whether the e-mails were legitimate.
“I had written to Google International and Google International indicated to me that there was no such e-mail,” he said.
Rambachan said he hopes that the police continue their investigation and put the matter to rest as quickly as possible.
“And, if in fact there was a malicious act on the Leader of the Opposition then the police should also deal with that,” said Rambachan.
“One wonders to what extent he was protected under the cloak of Parliament and privilege,” said Rambachan, adding that Rowley had indicated previously that if the e-mails were fake he would resign and he (Rowley) should keep his word.
Griffith said the end result of the police investigations would prove that the e-mails were fake.
Griffith said he, the Prime Minister, Ramlogan and Rambachan were falsely accused and the perception was that they were guilty until proven innocent.
He criticised the group Fixin T&T for placing full-page advertisements in the press calling on the Prime Minister, himself, Ramlogan and Rambachan to hand over their devices to the police while leaving Rowley out of the picture.
“I think that Dr Rowley fully recognises that he erred and it is up to his conscience to decide what he wants to do,” said Griffith.
“If you are a leader you need to be very careful in your decision-making process, you just can’t shoot from the hip and hope things will happen. He (Rowley) should step back and realise in future as a political leader you can’t just jump the gun and stop playing the game of ‘Aha, I catch you’. You need to be professional and controlled as a leader,” he said.
Griffith added that he was a not a Member of Parliament and had written to House Speaker Wade Mark on the heels of Rowley’s disclosure of emailgate in the Parliament.
“A Member of Parliament can smear my name, make allegations and nothing can be done, it is totally ridiculous because it can happen to anyone,” said Griffith, adding that to date he had not received a response from Mark.
He said further that if any other citizen in the country had made such allegations, the police would have charged him/her with wasting police’s time.