– says Legal Affairs Ministry official
While Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall has assured that an investigation will be launched into the attempts to intimidate the staff of this newspaper by persons using a vehicle assigned to him, a source in the Ministry has informed this newspaper that the Permanent Secretary of that agency had nothing to do with the act.
The Attorney General has denied knowledge of the actions of the suspicious persons who were driving around in his heavily-tinted vehicle on Monday last, and took photographs of the Kaieteur News’ Saffon Street building.
When questioned about the incident, Nandlall had indicated that on that day he was using another vehicle and was in a location outside of the city at the time.
He indicated that the vehicle in question could be used by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Indira Anandjit, who declined to comment on the matter, stating that she did not want to be “dragged” into it.
But a senior official of the Ministry debunked any suggestions that the Permanent Secretary might in any way be associated with the men’s activity.
According to the official, although the vehicle is the property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, thus under the control of the Permanent Secretary, it has been assigned to the Attorney General.
The official explained that the Permanent Secretary does not always know the whereabouts of the vehicle.
“She does not have a radio set to communicate with the drivers to know exactly where they are all the time,” the official stated.
The official said that there are two drivers assigned to the vehicle, one of whom only returned from vacation leave on Wednesday.
The other driver was seconded to the Ministry from Parliament Office.
“We are almost certain who was driving the vehicle at the time and we are investigating,” the official said, without going into further details.
“We saw the article and we were like, ‘What the heck? Not again?’” the official added, referring to a previous public spat between the newspaper and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which led to the Attorney General filing a lawsuit against this newspaper.
“Since this morning (yesterday) we have been getting calls enquiring what was really going on. But it is wrong to link the Permanent Secretary to any incident involving the intimidation of the staff at the Kaieteur News,” the official told this newspaper.
On Monday, the approach of a black Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and the slow lowering of its dark tinted windows sent some staff members of Kaieteur News taking cover.
The black SUV turned out to be one belonging to the Legal Affairs Ministry.
It was shortly after 13:00 hours when some staff members saw the vehicle approaching from the south along Saffon Street. When the vehicle neared the newspaper office both the left front and rear windows were lowered. The people saw hands going up and did not wait to see the result.
Two minutes later the vehicle returned and the procedure was repeated. This time the vehicle stopped. The closed circuit television cameras revealed that the men appeared to be photographing the building and the vehicles parked outside.
It seemed that during the first pass the photographs were not good. The men appeared to be using camera phones. That was why they had to stop the second time around, a staff member said, when he saw the video footage.
On receiving the report and verifying the number of the vehicle, Publisher Glenn Lall telephoned Mr. Anil Nandlall to complain about what he described as an act of terrorism. He then sent a text message to Mr. Nandlall protesting the intimidation of his staff.
Editor in Chief, Adam Harris, also called Mr. Nandlall who claimed ignorance of the affair. He said that he was attending an Eid function on East Coast Demerara and that he was using a white Range Rover. Mr. Nandlall said that the Range Rover was hardly ever used and that he chose to do so on Monday.
In response to a query about who would use the vehicle when he opted to use another, Nandlall had said that the Permanent Secretary could use the vehicle. He promised an investigation.
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