Kamla cleared in ganja probe

Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar has been cleared of any wrong­do­ing in con­nec­tion to mar­i­jua­na found on her prop­er­ty some five years ago.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith on Thurs­day an­nounced that Per­sad-Bisses­sar was not found re­spon­si­ble for the drugs on her premis­es in any way.

Grif­fith, speak­ing dur­ing the po­lice brief­ing at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing, Port-of-Spain re­spond­ed to ques­tions about the five-year-old case.

“I think it was rather dis­ap­point­ing that af­ter five years we are still re­fer­ring to a ‘plant-like sub­stance,’” Grif­fith said.

“But, if you have full ac­cess, con­trol and au­thor­i­ty of a home and what en­ters it, then there can be some de­gree of re­spon­si­bil­i­ty in the mat­ter. In this case, based on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, mar­i­jua­na was found out­side her house.

If it were found in­side then there would be some de­gree of re­spon­si­bil­i­ty,” he said.

“The own­er of the prop­er­ty, Mrs Per­sad-Bisses­sar, the Op­po­si­tion Leader, is in no way cul­pa­ble in any way or ac­cused of any wrong­do­ing. She’s clear of any mat­ter per­tain­ing to this in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Grif­fith said.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar was prime min­is­ter in 2013 when a small amount of mar­i­jua­na was found on her premis­es and some two years lat­er, then Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Stephen Williams or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to an al­leged cov­er-up of the find.

The TTPS re­leased a me­dia state­ment then af­ter for­mer Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty ­Jack Warn­er re­leased an au­dio record­ing pur­port­ed to be of an ex-Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter dis­cussing a mar­i­jua­na find.

Warn­er had claimed that on April 12, 2013, for­mer deputy com­mis­sion­er of po­lice Mervyn Richard­son in­formed him (Warn­er) that sev­er­al ounces of mar­i­jua­na had been found at Per­sad-Biss­es­sar’s house. Per­sad-Biss­es­sar was in New York at the time.

Warn­er said then that Grif­fith, who at the time was Per­sad-Bisses­sar’s na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty ad­vis­er and for­mer hous­ing min­is­ter Dr Roodal Mooni­lal were both aware of the find and had ad­vised Per­sad-Biss­es­sar of it.

In re­sponse to the CoP’s an­nounce­ment, the UNC in a state­ment said while it wel­comed the news, the par­ty queried the de­lay in the out­come of in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­to Email­gate and the fake oil scan­dal.

“The par­ty com­mends the Com­mis­sion­er for fi­nal­ly clear­ing the air on this mat­ter, which first sur­faced four years ago in June 2015—an elec­tion year,” the me­dia re­lease said.

The par­ty said it “hoped that sim­i­lar re­sources will be de­ployed in­to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions” in­volv­ing Petrotrin and A&V Oil, the com­pa­ny at the cen­tre of the fake oil scan­dal.

“In ad­di­tion, the al­le­ga­tions which were lev­elled against Mrs Per­sad-Bisses­sar and oth­er mem­bers of the par­ty which came to be known as “email­gate” re­main un­re­solved, even though the probe end­ed two years ago and noth­ing of sub­stance was found as stat­ed by the for­mer Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Stephen Williams on na­tion­al tele­vi­sion,” the me­dia re­lease said.

The par­ty re­it­er­at­ed its call for the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions to act on the Email­gate al­le­ga­tions and “clear those in­volved as has been done by both the In­tegri­ty Com­mis­sion and the for­mer Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice”.

Reporter: Renuka Singh

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