BY JUHEL BROWNE
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson and the police to investigate whether Prime Minister Patrick Manning attempted to cover-up allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma.
Persad-Bissessar called for similar investigations to determine whether Attorney General John Jeremie participated in any alleged cover-up.
Furthermore, she has declared that in light of the entire controversy, the time has come for the next general election to be called.
"We call on the Prime Ministeróresign and call the elections nowólet the population decide if we want this state of affairs to continue," she said yesterday.
This was Persad-Bissessar's response to Manning's statement in the House of Representatives as to whether Sharma should be removed from office.
Persad-Bissessar spoke to reporters after the House adjourned its sitting about 15 minutes early, to celebrate Manning's 35th anniversary as a sitting Member of Parliament.
She said Manning's statement confirmed media reports that he and Jeremie gave Sharma an ultimatum to either resign or face impeachment, regarding allegations of attempts to unduly influence the outcome of the just concluded trial against former Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday.
"That in my view warrants an investigation by the DPP and by the police into whether the Prime Minister has committed or attempted to commit perversion of the course of justice and secondly misconduct in public office."
She described perversion of justice as a common law offence, where someone works towards the concealment of a criminal act.
The allegations made against Sharma, which were made by Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls, have been referred to the DPP.
"If it is that the Chief Justice has been accused of committing a criminal offence and someone is inducing him to resign, so that that criminal offence can be covered up, then that is an attempt to pervert the course of justice," Persad-Bissessar said.
"Similarly, no further statement has come with respect to the AG. He has denied the allegation that he also asked for a resignation or be charged. And if these statements are true then they are both involved, in my respectful view, in the criminal offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice," she said.
She also said the DPP and the police should investigate where either Manning or Jeremie were guilty of misconduct in public office, which is another criminal offence.
Persad-Bissessar then called for an investigation of McNicolls.
"My third call would be that the DPP and the police investigate the allegations to determine whether the Chief Magistrate is guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and or is guilty of misconduct in public office," she said, adding that the allegations of an unscrupulous land deal involving McNicolls should be investigated by the Integrity Commission.
She said she will also be recommending to her party's colleagues in the House of Representatives to move a no confidence motion against Manning.
She said her party will begin a series of meetings with community groups on Monday, at the Leader of the Opposition's office in Port-of-Spain, from 9.30 am.
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