AG: Decision to make probe on children public is up to Defence Force

Date: 
Monday, April 3, 2017 - 09:45

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi says the issue of whether the T&T Defence Force makes public the findings of its probe into the matter of children being photographed with high-powered weapons at their Cumuto facility is up to the army.

The AG was also adamant that when it came to the safety of his children, the issue was “non-negotiable.”

He made the comment yesterday, even as Advocacy Group Fixin T&T joined the list of citizens publicly voicing their concern over the matter and calling for the report to be made public.

Fixin T&T head Kirk Waithe argued that it was simply not enough to state that “procedures were not properly followed that day, however, those procedural lapses have since been identified and rectified.”

Asked about the continued calls for the report to be made public yesterday, Al-Rawi said: “That is really a matter for the army. I will continue to have nothing to say in relation to my children and their security.

“So that’s really for the army. I have no control over that, nor am I a participant in that.”

Pressed further on whether he was concerned about the repeated calls to make the report public, Al-Rawi said this was not the case for him.

“I have no concern about any wrongdoing. The issue of the security of my children is a non-negotiable item for me. I have said so from day one and I will continue to say so.

“The issue are calls upon the army. I am not a participant in that process and not the subject of any investigation,” Al-Rawi said.

He added that the army would have to speak for itself as it was an “entirely separate entity” which he had no control over.

“I have nothing to do with this so far as this matter is concerned,” Al-Rawi added.

A military board of enquiry was set up by the T&T Defence Force (TTDF) to examine how the children came into possession of and were photographed with high-powered military weapons at the Cumuto army base. According to a media report, the enquiry had concluded that procedures were not properly followed that day.

Senior public affairs officer of the Defence Force Major Al Alexander had said that such procedural lapses had since been “identified” and “rectified.”

While Al-Rawi has not yet confirmed that the pictures are of his children, both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the Defence Force, in respective statements on the issue, had linked the children to Al-Rawi.

Rowley, head of the National Security Council, had also criticised the unidentified officer of breaching security and of putting the AG’s children at risk.

The issue was raised during the Budget debate, when Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal had told the Lower House that he possessed photographs of “young children in this country with high-powered weapons training somewhere” and wanted to show Al-Rawi.

SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Geisha Kowlessar)

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