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Trinidad: Kamla Persad-Bissessar cleared in marijuana probe

By Trinidad Guardian

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Kamla Persad-Bissessar

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been cleared of any wrongdoing in connection to marijuana found on her property some five years ago.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith yesterday announced that Persad-Bissessar was not found responsible for the drugs on her premises in any way.

Griffith, speaking during the police briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain responded to questions about the five-year-old case.

“I think it was rather disappointing that after five years we are still referring to a ‘plant-like substance,’” Griffith said.

“But, if you have full access, control and authority of a home and what enters it, then there can be some degree of responsibility in the matter. In this case, based on the investigation, marijuana was found outside her house. If it were found inside then there would be some degree of responsibility,” he said.

“The owner of the property, Mrs Persad-Bissessar, the Opposition Leader, is in no way culpable in any way or accused of any wrongdoing. She’s clear of any matter pertaining to this investigation,” Griffith said.

Persad-Bissessar was prime minister in 2013 when a small amount of marijuana was found on her premises and some two years later, then Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams ordered an investigation into an alleged cover-up of the find.

The TTPS released a media statement then after former Minister of National Security Jack Warner released an audio recording purported to be of an ex-National Security Minister discussing a marijuana find.

Warner had claimed that on April 12, 2013, former deputy commissioner of police Mervyn Richardson informed him (Warner) that several ounces of marijuana had been found at Persad-Bissessar’s house. Persad-Bissessar was in New York at the time.

Warner said then that Griffith, who at the time was Persad-Bissessar’s national security adviser and former housing minister Dr Roodal Moonilal were both aware of the find and had advised Persad-Bissessar of it.

In response to the CoP’s announcement, the UNC in a statement said while it welcomed the news, the party queried the delay in the outcome of investigations into Emailgate and the fake oil scandal.

“The party commends the Commissioner for finally clearing the air on this matter, which first surfaced four years ago in June 2015—an election year,” the media release said.

The party said it “hoped that similar resources will be deployed into the investigations” involving Petrotrin and A&V Oil, the company at the centre of the fake oil scandal.

“In addition, the allegations which were levelled against Mrs Persad-Bissessar and other members of the party which came to be known as “emailgate” remain unresolved, even though the probe ended two years ago and nothing of substance was found as stated by the former Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams on national television,” the media release said.

The party reiterated its call for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to act on the Emailgate allegations and “clear those involved as has been done by both the Integrity Commission and the former Commissioner of Police”.

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