PORT OF SPAIN — Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, yesterday denied that he ever said the e-mails in the emailgate probe were fake.
During the Police Service’s press briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Williams described as a “deliberate misrepresentation” an Express article headlined E-MAILS FAKE on July 8.
The Express had reported Williams as saying: “On the face of it, to any Trinidadian, those are not authentic e-mails.”
The police are now investigating 31 e-mails that were read out in Parliament during Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s no-confidence motion against the Government on May 20 implicating high office holders in wrongdoing.
Williams said there would have been people who acted on the assumption that the story was true. He added that was evident as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Joan Honore-Paul, issued a statement and made “some strong comments”.
On July 18, Honore-Paul in a media release described Williams’ statement as shockingly irresponsible and grossly reckless. She said that the statement demoralised the officers investigating the matter and gave others a chance to “opportunistically and conveniently” misuse his comments. She added that following the article Williams never refuted the claim.
Williams yesterday said he would not comment on Honore-Paul’s statement since she made them based on the article. He said that he respected both Honore-Paul and the office she holds, adding that it was unfortunate that she made the comments when she could have contacted him by telephone and verify if he made the utterance or not.
Williams was out of the country on official police business from July 6 to July 22.
Williams said: “During my interview with Asha Javeed I never told her that the e-mails were fake. Seeing the headline by way of a submission sent to me by the then acting Commissioner (of Police) (Mervyn) Richardson was very shocking because I would have to be someone going out of my head in saying that and I am not insane as yet. I don’t know what would happen in the future, but I would have to be somebody insane to tell a reporter that the e-mails are fake… It is rather unfortunate that she would have taken the liberty to add ‘e-mails are fake’ in a story to capture some kind of headline.”
Williams said he told Javeed, “These documents are being investigated to make a determination whether the contents of the documents are consistent with the e-mails.”
“Tell me how could somebody jump from that to say the e-mails are fake?” Williams asked, adding that he pointed out to Javeed during the interview that it was her choice of words to say that the e-mails were fake.
Williams pointed out that police are not investigating any e-mails since his “young grandson knows” that e-mails are electronic mails. He added that the police have in their possession hard copy documents and the contents of the documents are being looked into.
When asked why he chose to correct the “misrepresentation” 17 days after it was published instead of issuing a statement, Williams said yesterday was his first opportunity to do so. He added that in his opinion the best way to address it was on his return and that a release might have convoluted the issue more. (Express)