T&T police complaints body sees evidence of ganja cover-up at PM’s residence

(Trinidad Guardian) The Police Complaints Autho-rity (PCA) has recommended that the former head of Special Branch be charged for his role in the alleged cover-up of the discovery of a quantity of marijuana at the private residence of former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in 2013.

The recommendation was made at the close of the PCA’s five-month probe and forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, along with the evidence collated by its investigators for action, a statement from the organisation said on Wednesday.

It would now be the Office of the DPP’s option to await the findings of a parallel police investigation, which is scheduled to be wrapped up by month’s end, before charges are laid. The T&T Guardian understands the PCA recommended that retired Snr Supt Gary Gould be charged with misbehaviour in public office on account of wilful neglect of duty.

The PCA’s probe focussed solely on the conduct of police officers to determine if a criminal offence or serious police misconduct took place in their handling of the alleged discovery of marijuana on April 19, 2013.

Acting Police Commis-sioner Stephen Williams, who at first had denied that the Police Service was in receipt of such a report of illegal drugs being found at the Phillipine home of Persad-Bissessar, later ordered a broader probe into the allegations after Gould, the then head of Special Branch, confirmed that a member of the Special Branch assigned to Persad-Bissessar’s security detail had found five grammes of marijuana in the washroom of an outside gazebo on the property.

Williams said then the investigation would not only focus on the discovery of the illegal drugs but all the circumstances surrounding the alleged cover-up of the find. Police investigators only recently received statements from two politicians accused of being involved in the plot. Gould retired from the Police Service in the face of the probe.

The investigation was triggered by a June 14 newspaper report in which former national security minister Jack Warner admitted to taking part in a discussion in 2013 with other senior politicians and a senior police officer to ensure there was no criminal probe into the matter.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Ainsley Garrick, who was initially given one month to complete the investigation, has been granted several extensions.

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