Opposition Senator Wade Mark says Government must tell T&T if it was Energy Minister Stuart Young or National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds—or Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley—who “inserted” himself into an August 12 meeting between Police Service Commission chairman Bliss Seepersad and President Paula-Mae Weekes.
That was when the Seepersad was supposed to have gone to carry a merit list of names for the post of Police Commissioner to the President. Mark called for the identification of the particular minister yesterday at a media briefing.
Mark accused Rowley of trying to interfere with the PSC so that he could “handpick a Police Commissioner of his own” and go after political “opponents and enemies.”
Speaking on the train of events concerning the PSC, the selection process and outgoing Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith, Mark alleged criminal misbehaviour in public office and said he felt there are grounds for police intervention.
He called for police to interview Seepersad, Weekes, Young, Hinds, Rowley and the Cabinet.
“On T&T’s 45th Republican anniversary, T&T finds itself at a virtual crossroads. Our democracy’s being kidnapped by a Government gone rogue. It’s time to stand up, rise up to defend our democracy now under attack,” Mark said.
Mark said the PSC issue was a “deliberate attempt” by the People’s National Movement to politically interfere with the selection of a CoP.
He quoted PSC commissioner Roger Kawalsingh’s letter stating the merit list of CoP nominees was to be delivered to the President on August 12, but that Seepersad was met by another public official who voiced certain concerns and promised to forward documents in support of the concerns raised.
Mark said the issue “so alarmed” Seepersad that the merit wasn’t delivered to Weekes.
Mark asked, “Can Bliss Seepersad and the President account to T&T, who was this public official inserting himself in the meeting between them? We’ve been informed by reliable sources, a senior Cabinet minister sat in a chair on August 12 at President’s House.
“We ask Energy Minister Young whether he was the person at that meeting and provided documents that alarmed Seepersad to such an extent she couldn’t present the merit list? He needs to let T&T know if it’s not him.”
Mark added, “Or was it Minister Hinds? Let him clear the air. Or was it the Prime Minister? If it was none of them, Government needs to tell T&T.”
He wondered whether information was recorded on who entered the gates of President’s House for that meeting.
“Was Seepersad aware of the Minister’s presence before going to President’s House, or was she taken by surprise?” he asked.
“Was the President aware of this senior Minister’s presence? Did she invite him or did he invite himself? An independent PSC shouldn’t be taking direction from any Government Minister.”
He added, “Madame President, you have a duty to speak to your role in this national fiasco and scandal. PSC’s Seepersad has a similar duty to share who was the senior Minister at that meeting.
“Did the PSC instruct Seepersad to write the informant (minister) and tell him to put his concerns in writing so the PSC could properly deal with it? If so, why didn’t the PSC do it? Did she write the Minister?”
On Hinds’ statement that the National Security Council had gotten information it couldn’t ignore and informed the PSC, Mark said the council has no legal basis to employ two retired security heads to do a probe on any matter concerning the Police Service.
Energy Minister Stuart Young didn’t respond yesterday to queries on if he was the minister Mark referred to.
However, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said, “Wade Mark?! The UNC? They are never to be taken seriously.”
He added, “Fit only to star in ‘The Old and The Restless’ or Blueboy’s ‘Jump And Wave’.”
The Prime Minister yesterday also rubbished UNC claims of political interference in the selection of a Police Commissioner during a media conference.