Attorney Garvin Nicholas has called on Prime Minister Patrick Manning to say more on the alleged plot to assassinate him by an unnamed organisation. Nicholas was speaking during an interview at his Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, office yesterday.
He said his client Clinton Auguste was very disturbed and fearful for his life after Manning's statements on Monday night in Arima. "We would have to scrutinise exactly what has been said to see if it forms a case for libel and an attempt to tarnish his character," Nicholas said. "Because it appeared he (Manning) was linking my client to an assassination ring, when all he sought to do as a police officer was his job." Auguste was dismissed from the Police Service earlier this year after he was found guilty of disorderly conduct by a tribunal.
The incident stemmed from a confrontation with Manning, members of his security detail and Auguste outside the La Fantasie, St Ann's, residence on July 26, 2008. Auguste has since appealed the tribunal's decision. Nicholas said there were many questions needed to be answered. He said: "We would like to know if he investigated this group...Has he informed anybody before today (yesterday) about those threats? Is it reported anyway? "We certainly would like to know more about this group and what information Manning has, not in the 'Mr Big' kind of way either. "Surely, those kinds of things cannot be allowed to just come in the public domain and be used as a smoke screen," Nicholas said.
Nicholas said the "appropriate action" against Manning would be taken in due course: Speaking in Arima on Monday night, Manning said his wife Hazel received information from an individual that there was a plot by a certain organisation to kill him. Manning added there could have been bloodshed in T&T on the eve of last year's anniversary of the attempted coup when a marked police vehicle attempted to peel-off the final jeep in their detail, while proceeding around the Queen's Park Savannah during the early hours of July 26. According to Manning, the incident occurred two days after his wife was told of the plot.
Nicholas, however, questioned when Manning first learnt of the alleged plot, why did he not contact law enforcement agencies. He described Manning's statements as a diversion. "This is simply an attempt to divert the population from the call for an inquiry into the coup and if it is the Prime Minister would go at these lengths to divert the attention from that call, we have to wonder what is his real motive," Nicholas said. Police Commissioner James Philbert said he had assigned someone to investigate Manning's statements and any threat against a public person would not be taken lightly.