Rowley: SSA Investigation Serious

Spread the love

PIARCO – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the government was “blindsided” by allegations of misconduct within the Strategic Services Agency (SSA).

During a news conference at the VIP Lounge of Piarco International Airport following his return from India on Sunday, Dr Rowley discussed the ongoing investigation into the SSA.

He said, “We have been blindsided by this agency. But fortunately, the government was able to be informed at an early stage and we approached it with vigour and commitment.

“There is an ongoing, very serious investigation that is taking place… some of what has been unearthed in this investigation has been quite troublesome. And there are impressions of criminal conduct which are being investigated by those in authority.”

Dr Rowley said the government acted decisively upon learning of the issues, noting. “Where it fell to the Cabinet to act… the Cabinet did not hesitate to act. And we expect that we will rectify it and return the agency to its purpose.”

The controversy intensified with the dismissal of Major Roger Best as SSA director over the weekend. Best, who had been on suspension, was questioned along with Pastor Ian Brown and two others regarding allegations of illegal firearm transfers. They were released from police custody after consultation between Professional Standards Bureau officers and Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC.

The National Security Ministry’s release confirmed the Cabinet’s decision to fire Best, stating: “The Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago met earlier today and took the decision to advise the acting President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, Nigel de Freitas, to terminate the appointment of Major (Ret’d) Roger Best, as Director of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) with immediate effect.”

In response to questions about appointing a new SSA head, Dr Rowley said retired Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer, who has been acting as director since Best’s suspension, will continue in the role.

Dr Rowley said, “The replacement was taken care of (a) long time (ago). When we realised we had a problem of this nature the Government acted swiftly and there is an acting appointment there with all the authority of the office, and for the time being that will be satisfactory as we try to get to the bottom of what was going on in the SSA.”

He said Phillips-Spencer was “as good as an officer as we could have had to deal with this situation.”

Best was initially placed on administrative leave on March 2 and detained on May 16 for questioning about firearm transfer allegations. Following legal advice from Gaspard, Best, Brown, and two others were released pending further enquiries.

Support independent journalism. AZP News is an independent news organisation that is not affiliated with any big business and depends solely on advertising to pay our bills. Therefore, we are asking for the generosity of our readers to help us with small donations of any amount, but we will be happy with $20, $50 or $100. Click Here to Donate


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *