Change at SSA based on info received from cops says Rowley

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Change at SSA based on info received from cops says Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the changes made at the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) were taken based on information received from police.

A statement on Sunday from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said, “The National Security Council (NSC) has recommended to the Cabinet that the head of the SSA (Major Roger Best) be replaced immediately and that new leadership and management be installed with dispatch.”

Dr Rowley is the chairman of the NSC and head of the Cabinet.

The OPM added, “This recommendation has been effected and as of Saturday March 2 the head of the SSA (Best) has been sent on administrative leave.”

TT’s Ambassador to Washington, DC, Brigadier-General Anthony Phillips-Spencer, was recalled on March 2 and appointed acting SSA director by President Christine Kangaloo .

The OPM said Phillips-Spencer is initiating an extensive review and audit of all personnel, equipment and processes in the SSA.

Rowley speaking to media during the opening of the Diego Martin Public Library on Monday said:
“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.

“The actions that had come to the attention of the Cabinet warranted that drastic intervention. Let’s put it this way, and I am just going to say this to ensure that the conspiracy theories are grounded in some fact, the Government acted on information from the police. I say no more,” Rowley said in response to the media’s persistence for clarity over the rationale for Best’s removal.

When asked whether a police presence at Knowsley Building in Port of Spain on Sunday was related to the Government’s decision. The SSA’s office is located there.

Rowley replied, “It was all part of the response and the remit to the information being taken by the police.”

The PM pointed out that contrary to claims made by the Opposition UNC and other people, nothing was removed from the SSA’s office.

He added that additional security was put in in place there to secure the SSA’s premises and everything that is there.

Rowley reminded the media that Phillips-Spencer was appointed to act as SSA head on Saturday and the agency continues to function.

He also reiterated that Best was sent on administrative leave and has not been replaced.

However, the Prime Minister sought to urge the public to trust that the Government acted in the right manner.

“It’s not every day we act like this, it’s not every day we do this, something must have happened to warrant this. If you don’t trust the Government, then you will upset yourself with these conspiracy theories,” he responded.