MINISTER FACES GAG ORDER

National Security Minister Clement Rohee.
AP Photo/John Riley

Government this week moved to the courts to block Parliament from placing a gag order on National Security Minister Clement Rohee following an opposition no confidence motion against him for alleged incompetence linked to runaway corruption in the police force and a series of police killings in recent months among other issues.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall said cabinet has decided to challenge last Thursday’s ruling of parliamentary Speaker Raphael Trotman to send Rohee to the discipline or privileges committee for failing to address a series of security ills in the country including violent crime, drug trafficking, police corruption and unwarranted killings by police patrols.

The committee is to sit next month to decide whether a last Thursday opposition motion to gag the minister from speaking on any issue under his portfolio should go to a vote when Parliament again meets mid next month. The opposition has a one-seat majority and can win the vote and also has the numbers on the disciplinary committee.

But before the next session, Nandall told reporters that government will ask the court to rule on the speaker’s move to send the matter to a committee hearing as it is unconstitutional.

Nandlall said in the writ that the ruling was “unlawful, unconstitutional, ultra vires, in excess of and without jurisdiction, contrary to the rules of natural justice, arbitrary, capricious, null and void and of no effect.” Both he and President Donald Ramotar has vowed to defend Rohee to the hilt.

During a commission of inquiry hearings into the mid July riot police killings of three opposition supporters last month, Rohee appeared to be at pains to explain why dozens of official recommendations to improve the police force and enforcement in general have not been implemented. Opposition parties and rights groups have also criticized him in this area.

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