SSA Director’s Removal Based on Police Info- Rowley

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DIEGO MARTIN – PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley says the removal of Major Roger Best as the head of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) was based on alarming information provided to the National Security Council (NSC) by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Speaking at the opening of the Diego Martin Public Library on Monday, Dr Rowley remained guarded about the specifics but disclosed that the TTPS’s investigation focused on personnel, equipment, and processes within the SSA.

Dr Rowley said the circumstances necessitated drastic intervention to prevent jeopardising national security. He said that Best, as the overseer of SSA personnel, had to take responsibility, resulting in his administrative leave. He Major Best was the only individual placed on leave.

While pressed for more details, Dr Rowley refrained from providing specifics, saying, “There are some things that require a certain amount of circumspection, but suffice it to say that the circumstances required that the Government act to ensure that national security was not jeopardised.”

Premises occupied by the SSA at Knowsley on Queen’s Park West, St Vincent Street, and Sackville Street in Port of Spain were subsequently placed on lockdown. Dr Rowley said that no documents were seized, but the lockdown aimed to maintain control of the situation. He assured the public that the integrity of the premises was preserved during the changeover.

Addressing concerns about surveillance, Dr Rowley said that the primary issue was not interceptions, as the SSA’s role extended beyond that. He urged the public to trust that the government acted appropriately, saying that such actions were not commonplace.

Responding to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s allegations that Best’s replacement, retired Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer, was a government operative, Dr Rowley dismissed the claim and criticised the Opposition Leader’s remarks as “folly.”

Dr Rowley said, “Some people seem to have a problem with the Government being in control. The Government is responsible for certain situations and ensuring that somebody is in control.”

When asked if he was troubled by the information, Dr Rowley responded curtly, “If I wasn’t troubled by it, we would not have acted in this way.”

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