T&T top cop orders probe into suspected ganja find at PM’s residence

(Trinidad Express) Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has ordered an investigation into the discovery of “five grammes of a plant-like material resembling that of mari­juana” at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Phillipine home more than two years ago.

The probe was ordered following receipt of a signed report at 2 p.m. yesterday by Williams from the head of the Special Branch confirming the discovery.

The Sunday Express this week published an article written by investigative journalist Denyse Renne, headlined “Smokeout”, which focused on an affidavit by Member of Parliament Jack Warner in which he stated he was part of a plan in 2013 to ensure there was no criminal probe into the discovery of marijuana at the private home of Persad-Bissessar.

Speaking to the Express on Monday evening in Tobago, Williams said there was “no report recorded in the Police Service concerning a matter like that”.

“I was the head of the Police Service at the point in time and that matter was not brought to my attention and clearly when I speak to the operational head of the Special Branch, who is named in the report, he has publicly already said he doesn’t know anything about that report and he has confirmed that position to me, and I’ve asked him to put it in writing. So that’s the most I can say at this point in time,” Williams said.

Release issued at 5.55 p.m.

At 5.55 p.m. yesterday, however, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Public Affairs Unit issued a release titled “Investigation Ordered into alleged discovery at Prime Minister’s Private Residence”.

The release, sent by the Police Service’s head of Corporate Communications Ellen Lewis, said in light of the Sunday Express article, Williams requested a report from the operational head of the Special Branch, Snr Supt Gary Gould, on the matter and he also called on the Snr Supt of the Criminal Investigation Department/Criminal Records Office McDonald Jacob to verify if there were any official police records into the incident.

“The Commissioner of Police was advised by Snr Supt Jacob on Monday, June 15, 2015, of the absence of any official police record of the alleged discovery,” the release stated.

“However, today Tuesday, June 16, 2015, the Commissioner of Police was presented with a signed report from Snr Supt Gould, which confirmed the discovery of five grammes of a ‘plant-like material’ resembling that of marijuana, contained in a plastic bag in the male washroom of a gazebo on the western end of the Prime Minister’s private residence at Phillipine.

“The report, which was submitted to the Commissioner of Police at 2 p.m., stated that the discovery was made on Friday, April 19, 2013, at around 8.50 a.m. by a member of Special Branch.

“Given the report now made available to him, the Commissioner of Police has ordered an investigation into the matter,” the release stated.

Assistant Police Commissioner Ainsley Garrick has been ­appointed to conduct the investigation.

Warner gave hint on July 19, 2013

On July 19, while delivering a Chaguanas West by-election campaign speech at Marchin Recreation Ground, Jerningham Junction in Cunupia, Warner appeared to have hinted to the population about the April 19 discovery at Persad-Bissessar’s home.

“I say again, my fight is not with you or against you, Prime Minister. Madam Prime Minister, I have always demonstrated my loyalty to you. No one, not even you can deny that I have always defended you, always sought to protect you.

“Madam Prime Minister, as recently as April 19, while I was still your minister of national security, exactly one week before I submitted my resignation, and when you were in Washington, I, together with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, sought to protect you, protect your interests, and I will continue to be loyal to you and protect your interests and I will continue to be loyal to you and protect you, Madam Prime Minister.

“I will not denigrate you personally, I will not denigrate your friends or your family like you and the cabal are trying to do to mine,” he said.

The June 6, 2015, statement

In a statement dated June 6 submitted to Justice of the Peace Anthony Soulette, Warner outlined how former deputy police commissioner Mervyn Richardson came to the Parliament and told him about the alleged drug find.

Warner said Richardson, Persad-Bissessar’s former security adviser Gary Griffith, and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal were all part of a plan to ensure there was no criminal probe into the alleged marijuana discovery.

In his statement to Soulette, Warner gave April 12 as the date of the marijuana discovery.

According to the police, the marijuana was actually found on April 19.

Persad-Bissessar was in the United States at that time, having left T&T on April 14.

She returned to the country on April 20.

Warner resigned as national security minister on April 21 following a report from chairman of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee Sir David Simmons, which revealed allegations of million-dollar financial mismanagement by Warner and former Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer.

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