UNC MPs slam AG’s denial of local ISIS cell

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has come in for flack for trying to deny media reports of Prime Minister Keith Rowley’s admission of an ISIS terror cell operating in T&T.

In Parliament last Friday, according to verbatim notes, UNC MP Bhoe Tewarie had asked Rowley, “Is there anything in Trinidad and Tobago that can be considered an ISIS cell or an ISIS satellite?”

In response, Rowley said, “It is common on knowledge across the world not only in Trinidad and Tobago that citizens of Trinidad and Tobago subscribe to some of the doctrines of ISIS and persons from Trinidad and Tobago have travelled to areas of combat in Iraq and Syria.

“Many of them have been intercepted in Turkey, in Britain, some have been returned to Trinidad and Tobago, some are in custody in foreign countries; persons who seek to join ISIS and in fact as ISIS has been dispersed in Iraq and Syria that doctrine now is spread to homeland activities and therefore we have to be particularly concerned about such persons and the monitoring of such persons is an integral part of our national security and the answer to the question is yes.”

However, Al-Rawi in a Sunday Newsday report criticised media reports which said Rowley confirmed the presence of an Isis cell here. Al-Rawi reportedly said the Prime Minister “didn’t specifically state there is "confirmed ISIS cells here.”

Yesterday, UNC MP Suruj Rambachan said, “I was there in Parliament and heard the Prime Minister very clearly and he confirmed there is an Isis presence in T&T—he did so. I think the Attorney General talks too much and doesn’t realise the damage he’s doing to his country. Unfortunately, he’s also contradicting his Prime Minister. The AG thinks he’s dealing with an unintelligent, uninformed population. But he forgets people have full vision of what the Prime Minister said via television and also the Parliament Channel which is on the internet.”

UNC MP Rodney Charles, added, “If the Prime Minister in his response (to Tewarie’s question) said ‘Yes,’ any contradiction or apologist statement by the AG is obfuscation or game-playing. It’s time the AG stops playing games with the people’s safety— this isn’t the time for ole talk and scoring cheap political points.”

“While we commend the Prime Minister for being forthright, it took so long after so many questions in and out of Parliament for him to finally admit what we knew all along. It seems it was when he couldn’t deny the obvious, he acknowledged it. And for that, the Prime Minister must be commended.”

UNC MP Barry Padarath said, “Is it that the Attorney General is saying the Prime Minister made a faux pas or is it that the Prime Minister is telling the truth and AG is hiding something from the rest of T&T. What is the motive for the Attorney General’s contradiction of his boss?”

Minister in Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young didn’t reply to questions seeking comment.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Gail Alexander)

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