Armour apologises for slur cast on Barbados’ police force

Home*Cover Story*News

Armour apologises for slur cast on Barbados’ police force

Attorney General Reginald Armour has apologised to the Barbadian government and the Royal Barbados Police Force for the slur cast on that island’s police force, following its assistance to the T&T Police Service in seeking to bring Brent Thomas to justice.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions George Busby had also advised TTPS officers involved to communicate the existence of warrants to Barbados authorities, but no advice was given as to how the rest was to be done in Barbados or how, if arrested, Thomas was to be returned to T&T.

This was revealed by Armour in a statement to Parliament yesterday on the matter involving firearms dealer Thomas and the April 25 judgment by Justice Devindra Rampersad.

Justice Rampersad delivered findings in favour of Thomas, including what he called an “abduction” from Barbados.

At the centre of certain TTPS investigations in 2022, Thomas was rearrested on October 5 in Barbados, where he was in transit to Miami. T&T and Barbados police were involved.

The State last Friday appealed Rampersad’s order. Armour said a further appeal was lodged yesterday before the court to have it heard urgently “for national security reasons and to correct the grave errors made by the trial judge.”

Armour spoke amid several loud objections from UNC MPs, who protested that his statement was sub judice due to the State’s appeal of the judgment.

Armour confirmed the State has English attorneys in place in the event it needs to protect T&T at the Privy Council level.

Following Rampersad’s judgment, Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall sought answers on the issue from the Barbados Police Service (BPS). Marshall reported on his findings on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Armour said he accepted and endorsed Marshall’s remarks, adding, “I offer to the government and the Royal Barbados Police Force, my apologies for the slur which has been cast on the action of the Royal Barbados Police Service who, consistent with the law and their oaths of office, were assisting the T&T Police Service to the best of their ability in the investigation of alleged crimes, in seeking to bring an alleged fugitive to justice.”

Armour said he was limited in what he said. “Nevertheless, I make this statement because I recognise and acknowledge the legitimate concerns which arise out of that matter, exacerbated by the judgment. Nothing that I say here falls outside our permitted hierarchical judicial structure, tiered to include within the hierarchy of our Supreme Court that judges at first instance may make errors in the discharge of their judicial functions, and the Court of Appeal exists to correct those errors.”

Armour said the matter raises consideration of national security which circumscribes the detail which he could outline, and it also concerns police operational systems and processes in which the Executive has no role. He said the Police Commissioner ordered a probe of the matter and that must be allowed to take its course.

The AG said his information came from instructions given by the police to the team of attorneys representing the Office of Attorney General as a defendant in the matter. He noted the matters to which the judgment speaks are of a police operational one.

Armour said he would not comment on the arguments to be made by counsel to his ministry.

“Except to say that, so urgent is the need for a definitive final appellate adjudication in this matter, that I have already given instruction to London solicitors to retain English counsel from the outset so that that counsel may become immediately and fully apprised of this matter, working with our team of local attorneys, so as to become fully up to speed, ensuring that howsoever this appeal is determined by our Court of Appeal, we are ready immediately to protect the State by urgent access to our final court of appeal–the Privy Council.”

UNC MPs Saddam Hosein, Dinesh Rambally, Rodney Charles, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Arnold Ram and others protested that Armour was abusing Parliament’s Standing Order to speak about the appeal and judgment, prejudicing the matter, criticising and quoting the judge.

They were overruled by Deputy Speaker Esmond Forde, who noted Armour’s statement was approved.