Minister of Rural Development and Local Government and former Attorney General, Faris Al-Rawi, has rejected allegations made by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in which she accused him of interference and political conspiracy in the criminal matter against former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and former Senator Gerald Ramdeen. This, after the collapse of criminal charges against both men, who were accused of collecting kickbacks from Jamaican-born King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson during Mr. Ramlogan’s tenure as AG.
Mr. Al-Rawi described the Opposition Leader’s allegations as “wild,” adding that Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s attempt is one “to bait the Government to over-speak on a matter to fall into a trap of undue publicity where Attorneys can argue that their clients will not have a fair trial because there is too much information in the public domain.”
Minister Al-Rawi also denied there was a secret ‘sweetheart deal’ made with Mr. Nelson. He said on advice of Senior Counsel, the State undertook that no civil proceedings would commence for the recovery of legal fees that were paid to Mr. Nelson, and also there would be a certain amount of indemnity if there was a breach. He said this was specific to the AG’s obligations in law and under statute, so it was a “very qualified, careful indemnity.”
Mr. Al-Rawi said Mr. Vincent Nelson had also given a notarised statement on 26th October 2017 on conspiracy to defraud the public, and then participated on at least 10 occasions in confirming his guilt in the matter. Specifically, he gave written statements to the TTPS.
On calls by the Opposition Leader for his resignation, Mr. Al-Rawi said Mrs. Persad-Bissessar has been calling for his resignation for 13 years straight and her mission is to unseat her opponents.
Mr. Al-Rawi said billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on litigation and there is always choice: to do something or do nothing. He said the State has an obligation to act when faced with a written confession with high office holders being pointed out in those claims.