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Attorney General Reginald Armour. File photo/Jeff K Mayers
Attorney General Reginald Armour. File photo/Jeff K Mayers

THE OFFICE of the Attorney General has written to the lawyer of former police commissioner Gary Griffith, saying his client and all those affected by the finding of the Firearms Users Licence (FUL) audit report will be given the chance to respond before the Prime Minister lays it, or a summary of it, in Parliament.

The AG’s letter, signed by director (legal) Tenille Ramkissoon, was delivered to attorney Larry Lalla on Tuesday in response to Lalla and another of Griffith’s attorneys Avery Sinanan SC who, last week, threatened legal action if the report was laid in Parliament, as promised by Dr Rowley at a public meeting, before their client was given a sufficient chance to comment.

The AG’s office wrote, “Although it is proposed that the audit report or any summary thereof will eventually be laid in Parliament, it is not proposed that same be laid until and unless the matters stated below are actioned, by resason of which it is not proposed to lay the audit report or any summary thereof in Parliament at this time.”

Ramkissoon said that “consideration is further being given to having that person (or body of persons) report back to the Honourable Prime Minister or such other persons as the Honourable Prime Minister may direct.”

He continued, “The Attorney General is of the opinion that fairness and the law demand that before there be any publication of the report or its summary, all persons who may be adversely affected by the findings therein should be afforded the opportunity to comment and make representations on any such specific findings.”

The letter added that the report will not be laid in a manner “as to prejudice its value as an investigative audit report.”

Rowley, at a PNM public meeting last month, described the report as “disturbing and troublesome” and described Griffith’s appointment in 2018, “the biggest mistake” of his life.

Last week, Griffith instructed Lalla to apply for judicial review to the High Court to have the audit report struck down and declared null and void.

The latter cautioned the Prime Minister to hold his hand on laying the report or any part of it in Parliament or publishing it, pending the determination of the court application for judicial review, failing which legal action would be pursued.

“What is clearly disturbing and troublesome is: at no time during the conduct of its investigative exercise and compilation of the report did the members of the audit committee act fairly and observe the principals of natural justice, Lalla wrote.

“Any move to lay the report would disregard the constitutional rights of Griffith to approach the court to question the legality of the audit report which forms a cornerstone of our democracy.”

In a message to Newsday on Monday, Griffith also responded to the contents of the AG’s latest letter, questioning the Rowley’s direct interest in the investigation.

He said, “Rowley has taken a personal interest in this investigation, so much so that it has clouded his vision and he has lost all perspective of propriety.

“Why has he taken such a personal interest? Is it because his real aim is to seek to destroy a political opponent as opposed to see that justice is done?

Lalla, Griffith’s attorney, also expressed concern about the Prime Minister’s involvement and “investigatory powers.”

He told Newsday via a Whatsapp voice note that while he appreciated that his client’s name would “not be unfairly tarnished and besmirched” by the executive report being laid in the Parliament, he is concerned that letter appears to assume investigatory powers onto the Prime Minister.

“The letter seems to indicate that the Prime Minister is going to control the further investigation that takes place in relation to that report,” Lalla said.

“The Prime Minister does not have that power; that investigatory power lies with the police, and only in a dictatorship would a Prime Minister arrogate such power onto himself.

“So, that misplaced power originating out of the Attorney General’s office, that misplaced attention rather, ought to be corrected.”

The FUL audit report is believed to include a summary into an investigation into the issuing of firearms users’ licences at the police service’s firearms department and other operations and practices relative to firearms users’ licences, completed by retired ACP Wellington Virgil, retired ACP Raymond Craig, retired Inspector Lennard Charles, and others.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

THE OFFICE of the Attorney General has written to former police Gary Griffth’s attorney Larry Lalla saying his client and all those affected by the finding of the Firearms Users Licence (FUL) audit report will be given the chance to respond before the Prime Minister lays it, or a summary of it, in Parliament.

The AG’s letter, signed by director (legal) Tenille Ramkissoon, was issued to Lalla on Tuesday in response to Lalla and another of Griffith’s attorneys Avery Sinanan SC, who last week threatened legal action if the report is laid in Parliament before their client was given a sufficient chance to comment.

The AG’s office wrote, “Although it is proposed that the audit report or any summary thereof will eventually be laid in Parliament, it is not proposed that same be laid until and unless the matters stated below are actioned, by reason of which it is not proposed to lay the audit report or any summary thereof in Parliament at this time.”

Ramkissoon said that “consideration is further being given to having that person (or body of persons) report back to the Honorable Prime Minister or such other persons as the Honourable Prime Minister may direct…

“The Attorney General is of the opinion that fairness and the law demand that before there be any publication of the report or its summary, all persons who may be adversely affected by the findings therein should be afforded the opportunity to comment and make representations on any such specific findings.”

The letter added that the report will not be laid in a manner “as to prejudice its value as an investigative audit report.”

Later on Tuesday, Lalla told Newsday via a Whatsapp voicenote that while he appreciated that his client’s name will “not be unfairly tarnished and besmirched” by the executive report being laid in the Parliament, he is concerned that letter appears to assume “investigatory powers” onto the Prime Minister.

“The letter seems to indicate that the Prime Minister is going to control the further investigation that takes place in relation to that report,” Lalla said.

“The Prime Minister does not have that power; that investigatory power lies with the police, and only in a dictatorship would a Prime Minister arrogate such power onto himself.

“So, that misplaced power originating out of the Attorney General’s office, that misplaced attention rather, ought to be corrected.”

The FUL audit report is believed to include a summary into an investigation into the issuing of firearms users’ licences at the police service’s firearms department and other operations and practices relative to firearms users’ licences, completed by retired ACP Wellington Virgil, retired ACP Raymond Craig, retired Inspector Lennard Charles, and others.

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