By Francis Joseph, Newsday
Richard Bickram, the State's main witness to the allegations of voter-padding, has walked out of his "safe house" in the Caribbean and is planning to return to Trinidad even if it costs him his life.
Bickram flew into Trinidad yesterday morning to meet with officials of the ruling People's National Movement (PNM) Government, but by mid-afternoon he was refused audiences with Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Dr Lenny Saith, Minister of Public Administration and Information, and Public Utilities Minister Martin Joseph.
Newsday caught up with Bickram on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port-of-Spain yesterday, mere hours after he had left his "safe house" in the Caribbean to meet with Government officials "so that his suffering and frustration can come to an end".
Bickram, 36, who has been in protective custody for the past 20 months, visited Dr Saith's office on St Vincent Street (opposite CID) shortly after 11 am, but was advised to meet with Joseph. His meeting at Saith's office was brief.
Bickram then went to the Ministry of Public Utilities on Sackville Street where he was told to wait to see the Minister.
The State witness admitted that he fell asleep while waiting to see Joseph. The Minister slipped out of the Ministry at 12.20 pm without seeing Bickram.
When Bickram finally awoke, Joseph had already left. Sometime after 2 pm, Bickram went to PNM's headquarters at Balisier House to meet Manning, but was turned away by party officials, who said that the Prime Minister was unavailable. Bickram admitted that Manning was at Balisier House at that time.
Bickram said he spoke to both Saith and Joseph by telephone on Tuesday and "they promised to settle matters".
He continued, "but that has been the talk for a long time. I got so frustrated with all the talk that I had to borrow money from a friend on the island on Tuesday afternoon and buy me a plane ticket to come to Trinidad.
"I could not just sit by and let days go by with no food in my apartment," a frustrated Bickram told Newsday. He admitted that the PNM party had given him money while they were in opposition, "but since their return to Government, it has been hard. I asked them for money to buy a computer to keep me busy because it is frustrating living on an island with nothing to do."
The state witness added, "I want the money to keep me going, not to spend on insignificant things."
Bickram is in no hurry to return to his "safe house" and is now contemplating leaving the witness protection programme because the Government has turned its back on him.
Although he remains in Trinidad, Bickram is considering migrating because "he cannot keep looking over his shoulders day and night."
|NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 this material is distributed without profit or payment to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material
from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. |