Former Trinidad national security minister blames cabinet colleague for firing

GaryGriffith-1Port of Spain, Trinidad — Former Trinidad and Tobago national security minister Gary Griffith has blamed Communications Minister Vasant Bharath as the minister who tried to influence him not to speak out in the alleged witness tampering matter involving fired attorney general Anand Ramlogan and Police Complaints Authority (PCA) director David West.

In his statement to police, Griffith said the move to silence him took place at a meeting on January 29 at the conference room of the Office of the Prime Minister.

Griffith has also submitted to police text messages that were exchanged between him and Bharath on January 30 to support his claim.

Griffith and Ramlogan were both fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on February 2.

The allegation against Ramlogan is that, six days before West was appointed director of the PCA, he (Ramlogan) telephoned him and asked that he withdraw his witness statement in a defamation lawsuit relating to the failed extradition involving Section 34 applicants Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh in exchange for him being selected for the job.

Ramlogan has denied the allegation, which is now the subject of a police probe.

The text messages were exchanged on the same day (January 30) West reported Ramlogan to the police.

Telephone records show that the text messages were from the same mobile numbers the Sunday Express has used to contact Bharath and Griffith from the time they were both given ministerial portfolios.

At the time the text messages were sent, Griffith was still a member of Cabinet before being fired on February 2 by Persad-Bissessar, who said he had an obligation to tell her that he was asked to telephone West and find out if he had pulled back a “document”.

Griffith, who is a key witness in the matter, has dismissed the reason for him being axed from the Cabinet, insisting that he was removed because he did not agree with several Cabinet colleagues that he should deny the December 19, 2014, telephone conversation he had with West.

Griffith handed over the text messages along with two statements to police last week.

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