Investigations into a scandal linked to the recent publication of electronic mails involving the prime minister of Trinidad, the attorney general and the national security adviser allegedly plotting to harm high officials and a newspaper journalist heated up this week with the head of government agreeing to turn over her Blackberry handset, laptop and password to officials probing the allegations.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she was willing to cooperate fully with investigators once information in these devices were analyzed in her presence, that of her attorney and information technology experts.
The scandal linked to the alleged emails erupted in the island’s parliament during a no-confidence motion against the government brought by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley last month, shaking the foundations of the three-year-old government to its core and putting it on the defensive.
Many in the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago are watching the evolution of the investigation closely with government supporters hoping that the emails are phony while those who support Rowley’s People’s National Movement (PNM) are praying they are indeed authentic.
Unveiled to a stunned parliament, some of the exchanges involving the prime minister, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, National Security Advisor Gary Griffith and others in the intelligence community appear to show a discussion about bugging the office of Chief Prosecutor Roger Gaspard because officials wanted to know “his next move” and even offering him a plum position as a high court judge to get him away from the constitutionally protected office so more government influence could be exerted on it.
Another one talked about the consternation officials had over the brilliance of newspaper reporter Deneyse Renne who was widely credited with breaking a story showing a government plot to help two governing party financiers walk free by amending the law to give the state and judges the power to dismiss a case if it had not been concluded in 10 years.
In the case of financiers Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, theirs have been languishing for more than a decade and they were the first two to apply for redress after parliament had approved the amendment.
But as investigations heat up, Griffith has already announced that he had turned over his handset and computer to investigators, while AG Ramlogan is yet to do so. Both say they have nothing to hide or fear.
Rowley for his part remains confident that his whistle blower fed him accurate information that government has already dismissed as fake and designed to hurt its chances at elections due in 2015.
Two other ministers, Suruj Rambachan of public works and Roodal Moonilal of housing have also been asked to surrender their equipment as well. Along with the AG, these two have been accused of being in a Hindu-led “cabal” that controls the daily operations of government along with the prime minister. Fired ministers Jack Warner and Hubert Volney have so named and accused them, charges they deny.