Rowley: Gov’t must send right message; UNC: Opposition desperate to distract! Live Wire looks at Dillon dilemma

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, unknown to Parliament or taxpayers, has been sneaking into the United States over the last seven months to answer accusations of “elderly financial abuse, exploitation and fraud” in the New York Supreme Court.

Let’s try that again. The Minister directly responsible for stamping out criminal behaviour in Trinidad and Tobago is himself formally accused of criminal behaviour in the “Big Apple.”

Photo: Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon.
(Copyright CNC3)

And Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who Dillon said was aware of his legal woes, did not think that was relevant information for the public who elected him as its leader.

Still, Rowley did issue  a statement.

“He has portrayed T&T’s image in a poor light internationally,” said Rowley. “[…] The last thing the Government should want to do is to send a message to the misguided youth that some people are above the law or their office is too high for the law.”

Bizarrely, the United National Congress (UNC) has rallied to Dillon’s defence.

“Any attempt to answer the questions on [this issue] would serve the agenda of an opposition so desperate to distract the population from the [government’s] achievements,” said a UNC statement.

Eh… Well, actually, Rowley’s aforementioned statement was an explanation as to why then Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner should be removed from Cabinet, although he had not actually been charged with anything at the time.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) and then Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner at the Trinidad and Tobago 2010 Women’s Under-17 World Cup.

And the UNC release? That was a response to a video clip of then Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Anil Roberts, making merry with alleged prostitutes and illegal substances in grip.

The moral bar is set so low in the Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet that even Finance Minister Colm Imbert could step over it without breaking stride.

US Court evaluator Patricia Powis told the New York court that incapacitated 88-year-old US citizen Neville Piper—whom Dillon described as a “close friend”—accused the National Security Minister of defrauding him out of a high-rise condominium in Manhattan, New York and US$5,000 on 21 August, 2017.

Ironically, on the same day, Rowley was confessing to the local media that the procurement of the Ocean Flower 2 and Cabo Star involved crookery.

Dillon, a retired major general, dismissed the US charges as “vexatious, frivolous allegations” and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi defended his Cabinet colleague by essentially suggesting that “his lawyers say he go win… so small thing.”

It is not the sort of defence allowed to soldiers and coast guardsmen, who are, as a matter of course, discharged from the Defence Force from the moment charges are laid.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gestures on the election campaign trail.
(Courtesy Caribbean News Service)

Rowley: “The last thing the Government should want to do is to send a message to the misguided youth that some people are above the law or their office is too high for the law…”


When asked whether he was concerned that colleagues and the public might lose faith in his ability to continue as National Security Minister while facing formal fraud allegations, Dillon told the press that his track record “spoke for itself.”

His record speaks for itself?! Has National Security Minister Dillon even met National Security Minister Dillon?!

“So everyone is a comedian now and there are fellahs now who take it to a new level,” said poet and storyteller Paul Keens-Douglas. “They are jokers. Dem is comedians who mean what they’re saying!”

And guess who is the butt of those gags from political jokers?

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (centre) poses with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from left), National Security Minister Edmund Dillon (second from right) and Speaker of the House Esmond Forde (third from right) after an exhibition match at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April, 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
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  1. Edmund Dillon has won his case, according to the Ministry of National Security. I’d assume the mainstream media will have more details soon.

  2. Is he fired or not? That’s the question.

  3. Savitri Maharaj lol for real that is why I came to the man of integrity Lasana Liburd lol

  4. All these hacks playing journalists now, Newsauce and Braveboy Reports?

  5. An injunction was issued ordering that they pay back every cent and POA was revoked

  6. Damn Lasana Liburd yuh beat to the punch

  7. The case is supposed to be on April 4 Bor Bor. I wouldn’t believe anything Marcia Braveboy says personally. I’d wait and see.

  8. Lasana Liburd heard Dillon was found guilty by d US Courts any truth to that

  9. He not serving any purposes either way

  10. The moral bar is set so low in the Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet that even Finance Minister Colm Imbert could step over it without breaking stride.

  11. Guess now they find work for that 16 M$ Lobbyist to get him “free”

  12. Calder OHalloran Prevatt Hart

    Came in here expecting to see Chloe Paul defend this. Was not dissapointed.

  13. Mr. Dillon is an embarrassment and this episode shows how we have absolutely no standards for public officials. Before Dillon’s name is the title Rt. Honorable. Dillon has stated that this was a gift to him. He did nothing to EARN this. Whether the niece has eyes on the property is totally irrelevant. The owner of the property has frontally assaulted dillon’s integrity by saying he was being taken advantage of. These matters usually arise upon death when the owner is not here to advance his wishes. This is not the case here. The right and honorable thing to do is to disclaim any interest in a property that was granted to you when the grantor has basically called you a fraudster and you are a high government official. These people have no concept of protecting the dignity of their high office. Where is your integrity, court approved or not, when you accept interest in a property when the grantor believes he was defrauded. We must do better.

  14. If he is innocent he should sue all those who are slandering his name. Just saying. We always run with everything we hear.

    • Is it that politicians should stand aside until they clear names when they are facing a charge that is unworthy of their position?
      Or is it that only politicians from the party we DON’T support should stand aside until they clear their names when they are facing a charge that is unworthy of their positions?

    • Lasana like I said in another post if everytime an allegation is made against a parliamentarian they have to step down then both sides along with the Senate is in trouble. I don’t support party because I belong to country not PNM or UNC. Too much hypocrisy in this country.

    • Rhonda, one has to understand the difference between an allegation and a formal probe. Your bit about “everytime an allegation is made” is very weird.
      Do you have friends who face a formal probe or investigation from a judicial body every other month? I don’t.
      If those are the type of people in our Parliament then we need some new people.
      Should politicians step aside whenever they are investigated?
      Ahmmm. Yes. I don’t set low standards Rhonda.
      I’d think that it shouldn’t be so hard to find a room full of people who are wanted by the police, hunted by the integrity commission, facing extradition, etc.
      But I’m wondering now if I can find a room full of people who wouldn’t support that lot if they were in the right colour tee-shirt.

    • I can’t answer for a room of people but for myself. I am not concerned about tee-shirts color either. I set very high standards for myself also. However, we live in a world where politics has a morality of it’s own and transcends the world over. There is a case involving the Minister. Unlike Mr Warner there is no extradition involved.which suggest the minister is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Jack’s case is the other way around.
      I belong to no party. Yet I honestly believe that once a person enters politics they change. Just saying.

    • No sitting Minister or even board member should be facing a fraud issue in court. While that is active, then he or she should not be. I don’t care what party you belong to.

    • We are all entitled to our opinions. Hope that’s also clear enough for ya. Have a good night.

    • Cool Rhonda. I’ve heard variety is the spice of life. ?

    • Lasana. Just so you know I also believe that anyone in leadership positions should step aside if facing a fraudulent issue in court. Just can’t deal with the double standards.
      Do enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    • What happened to Mr.Dillon cld happen to anyone. Sometimes u have wealth but ur relatives so distant and heartless,that u decide to give ur wealth to an outsider a friend with age u can’t remember everything and when the relatives hear it is an outsider earmarked to benefit from ur wealth or that u give Power of Attorney to a friend who was good to u, they want to fight the person. This niece who fighting Dillon she must be only interested because of the amt. What happened to Dillon cld happen to anyone. So u must leave ur job for that? Politics is a nasty game.

    • Shirley I managed a credit union and I can tell you how many aged people are abandoned by their relatives and when they die or lose their ability to move around those same relatives suddenly become concerned and wants everything in their name. We are surrounded by dishonest people. This niece just could be one of those but we don’t have the facts.

    • I was calling for his head now that more facts have come to light then no.

      This is a case brought by a civilian against mr dillon very very very different from the state…

    • Relatives can be so dishonest. They leave their aged to suffer and pay them no attention. Then just before or after you die they come out acting santimonious because they are blood related. I have witnessed this too many times to mention.

    • Rhonda Maynard this country needs more SMART intelligent peeps like u, keep it, lovebur comments ?✌️?

    • All the maco and fast people get there big bust every week you know that god bless mr dillon kept him safe amen

    • Rhonda! let him sue now nah! Damn scamp!

    • Mike recognize that there is a time for everything. Remember the saying truth offends and if there’s no basis to respond to ranting then silence is golden. Dillon I fear has chosen to say little against tremendous provocation.

  15. Brig Dillion protect your 88 year old family friend that is suffering from Dementia from unkind people. I wish you well.

  16. Don’t miss the point. .Its Vicki Boodram in a suit. .Besides Archie applied for leave. Dillon just surreptitiously left..

  17. I like the article with the shoes switched on the govt/opp feet. But I’m a little conflicted with hanging Dillon because of a property dispute. It’s so easy for some family member to get vex when old people pass you up in their will. It would seem unfair if he was rightly granted the property to have him step down if it turns out some greedy person after it. I know of some little old lady who left a million dollar property to her care giver. I’m sure some distant relative crawling out the woodwork all now

  18. Appears to be a civil matter as opposed to a criminal one. To me that reduces the seriousness of the matter. The AG is correct in that people can bring frivolous lawsuits; particularly family members. Not sure of US practices but having the donor declared competent by a mental health professional before executing the gift should have made any law suit a waste of time. Barring certification of competence the matter may turn out to be a slippery one.

  19. lmao @ Has National Security Minister Dillon even met National Security Minister Dillon?

  20. The Prime Minister has already sent a bad message to the misguided youths by his response to the Al Rawi issue, do you expect him to do different now?

  21. Dillon has underperformed as MIns of National Security but let’s look at this situation separate and apart..Mr Piper niece filled a civil law suit against Mr Dillon or in local parlance bring him up in court for attempting to defraud her uncle… her defence is that Mr Piper was incapacitated/ not of sound mind when the deed that he has in his possession was made and he is saying the signature is not his and he has no recollection… what is interesting is that she his saying her uncle was incapacitated when he made the deed last year but is using a witness statement from the very same incapacitated man this year as her defense.. so all of a sudden he’s of sound mind this year when he’s hospitalized??? What is even more interesting is when the person from the court visited Mr Piper the page with his signature hade a dog ear where he asked who is this?? So who made the dog ear on the deed and how he had a copy??? Any objective thinking person would realize this is a niece who is upset her uncle gave away his assets to someone who is not a blood family and she wants it fir herself…

    • I see this happening all the time. The person does something when in their right mind. The missing family members wait until they can act for themselves and then cry wolf. I went through that same thing but thank God the documents were airtight. My husband’s name was dragged through the mud but justice was done and she lost.
      Not saying that’s the case but there are always two sides to a story.
      Problem with this is that too many people filled with hate are looking for anything to blame PNM. So Dillon is guilty until proven innocent while Moonilal is innocent until proven guilty. Sweet T&T.

  22. When Franklin and Eric had charges pending in local courts his predecessor ask them to step down until the matter was done
    He is really not leading like the pnm of the past

    • Those were criminal charges related to the performance of their duties. This is a civil matter based on a family dispute.

    • Anthony, Ramadharsingh was fired due to his misbehaviour on a flight. Would you have accepted that this had no bearing on the performance of his duties too?

    • Was his misbehavior not related to his status as a government minister?

    • Anthony, he got on like an ass on a plane. Not sure what you mean exactly. He was a minister at the time. Just like Dillon was.
      If we continue splitting hairs as to why one court case is worse than the other, we would tie ourselves in knots though.
      For me the only question is if the charge in question can affect your image as minister. If so, you should step aside until the cloud is lifted.

    • Do you really know the details of this case or it is just hearsay and sensationalism. So eager to judge.

    • Court documents is hearsay? You think Dillon on the Jerry Springer show or what? ???
      Allyuh kill me yes.

    • Lasana Liburd the documents you’re referring too are not charges laid against the Minister by a Prosecutor, a private citizen brought up the Minister and gave presented affidavit supporting their allegations…Mr Dillon now has to produce his documents in his defense…I think you’re misunderstanding the the procedure for a civil matter fir that of a criminal matter… so based on your logic I could go to the magistrate court brung a civil matter against any high office holder , present sworn affidavit and when the office holder is asked by the court to present a defence they must step down because I brought them up??? You should ask yourself if the niece of Mr Piper is all edging fraud how come the FBI was not involved??? USA is the best at forensic???

    • Wendell there is a reason why a court evaluator was used BEFORE this went to the Supreme Court, not so? You think I can file against you there tomorrow and the State of New York will throw its resources into that?
      Obviously the court will determine guilt. But if the case was felt to be ridiculous, I’d think the learned court wouldn’t need your help to figure that out.

    • In any case, let me be clear. I think no minister in my government should be facing a fraud case in a court of law. Least of all the Minister of National Security.
      If you think that’s fine then I’m not with you on that.
      I don’t care for the technicalities. If the case is so straightforward then take leave and have the minister in the ministry of national security step up with all the wonderful things you’re doing in the post until you’re vindicated.
      As for the Govt’s decision to keep that entire case to themselves… I won’t even go there right now.

    • Lasana Liburd the evaluator was used based on what was presented, i.e, to verify if what the woman was alleging had validity, hence the evaluator said in her report that the a page in the deed was marked with a dog ear, and he asked who is this?? Pointing to the signature saying it is not his…who marked the page and who told him to say that ?? So the niece is saying that her uncle was incapacitated when he made the deed but is of sound mind after to point to the evaluator that the signature is not his??? Those deed are made out by attorneys and is done before more than one wittiness the fact the uncle had a copy of the deed speaks volumes??? All the Minister has to do is present his documents and the court would decide???

    • Wendell I repeat. No honourable member of cabinet should be facing a fraud charge in court. I don’t care which party. Solve it first.

    • Lasana Liburd it is not a charge , where you saw the Minister was charge for fraud?? The state didn’t charge the Minister for anything…It is not Mr Piper saying the Minister tried to defraud him , it’s a niece ??? It’s an allegation made by a citizen

    • Lasana Liburd you’re confusing being charged and defending a civil matter raised by a private citizen

    • Sowhat is the situation with the money withdrawn frm the old mans’ bank account?.? The monies that Dillon was ordered to repay!

    • Wendell, what happens if he loses case? You want our National Security Minister to be called out like that?
      Once there is any formal investigation or issue of that matter at all, then we don’t want the position of national security minister to be called into disrepute.
      We should be consistent no matter the personality. I’ve taken the exact view when it was PP ministers and I will continue to be consistent regardless of party.

    • Lasana Liburd If he looses the case he should be fired immediately??? If there were criminal charges laid she should also step aside that goes without saying…so you’re saying if I bring up a Minister in the court for my own selfish gain or hidden agenda and presented an affidavit from one of my friends supporting what I am alleging and the court ask the Minister to present a defence for the accusations that the Minister should step down until the matter is finished???

    • Wendell if the court thinks there is enough evidence to have case and you feel strongly enough to risk what might lie in store if your accusations turn out to be baseless, then yes.
      When the minister loses the case, it is too late for damage limitation. That would be poor leadership.
      So you’re saying you had no problem with the likes of Anil Roberts and gerald Ramdeen staying in positions of power then?

    • Lasana Liburd Glen wasn’t charged he was rightfully dismissed for behavior unbecoming of Minister on a flight on the National Airline carrier …Anil was fired for Life Sports after an Audit was done and revealed irregularities, Life Sports was under his Ministry so that was work related so they were both rightly removed.

    • I initially thought this was a criminal case and i said he should be fired immediately….

      This is a civil case, there are zero criminal charges here…

      In fact mr dillon can be ordered to return the property even if he didnt do anything wrong

    • Wendell I think Anil should have been replaced from the two pull video. Do you agree?

    • Nigel what if the court rules that Dillon was responsible for a forged signature in an effort to defraud a man of his property?

    • That is a what if…if then he should be instantly fired. But the burden of proof in civil cases in the US is pretty low…

      So i think if a civil case against a minister a reason for stepping down we making it real easy to get rid of anyone.

    • Nigel the beauty of this is that the US court system moves pretty quick. I felt it a little unfair that the Integrity Commission was taking an eternity to rule on Marlene McDonald for instance.
      I think it is important to safeguard the position as best as possible. So let him step aside and let someone fill in as was done with Cuffie.
      Once he is vindicated, he can return. And he would be respected for it.
      The slipping out with nobody informing the public leaves a bad taste. In my opinion, the government and prime minister did not handle this at all well.

    • It should have been made public i agree but the stepping down thing i dont know about that for a civil case…

      And i repeat the judge can rule against him even if he did nothing wrong

    • Nigel cool. But I’m standing on my point too. I wouldn’t take the risk and the accusation of fraud is a stain that ought not to be hanging over a National Security Minister as he conducts his duties.

    • Nigel you do have a point on the lower threshold though.

    • Umm fraud is a criminal act in most jurisdictions. The matter may be brought privately before the court but if found guilty it could mean indictment. A lot of the cases like assault and what that we bring before civil courts here are infact called private criminal matters.

    • What continues to amaze me about the local media is that they call for a resignation for everything while not realizing that the pool of willing and able citizens is getting smaller every day.
      However, they don’t care because they have the perfect job – being able to sit in the stands and criticize the players, coaches and management of the teams who actually DO something.
      Any decision that is made guarantees them revenue because their primary concern is content

    • People must ask themselves a very important question – How many times have we seen an investigative report from a journalist about anyone actively practising in that field? Then, ask why not?
      Is it that, over the life of this country, ALL of them are squeaky clean (see brown paper bag issue at event )

  23. This Dillon thing is news to me… why not just return the apartment.
    Doh tell meh he tryin’ to keep it? And de $5000 too.

  24. After looking at the article “AG claims ‘land-grabbing niece’ stirring up trouble” on page 3 in the Daily Express today (24/03/2018), I had to wonder if Al Rawi breathed in too much wharf water down Sando.

    Imagine a ‘seasoned’ attorney, the Attorney General, is so crass and (need I say?) dotish, he is commenting and giving judgment in a matter still before the courts. I wasn’t aware he tried the case in the USA and found Dillon innocent.

    • Somehow I doubt the sub judice rule applies across international borders. Not sure if the matter is a jury tried. If it isn’t, the sub judice rule has even less relevance. The matter is fair game to comment on here in TnT.

  25. The offence here, to me, is the failure to disclose. I guess Dillon figures he enjoys so little goodwill that coming clean about the lawsuit would have just triggered the cynical feeding frenzy we love to engage in. I’m no fan of this minister or defender of this ethically compromised Cabinet, but I can’t see how a claim by someone’s niece in a civil court is automatically a firing offence. If there were preponderant evidence of fraud, wouldn’t there be criminal charges? I haven’t read the court evaluator’s report, though. But I trust if there were something scandalous in there, the media would find it. The calculus that he could ride this out quietly is my upset: and makes me feel there is something interesting about the relationship he’d prefer to hide, that we will discover in the course of time. I don’t there’s any argument that he protects his office by keeping this away from the public; like the CJ’s accusations, the failure to shed light is what compromises the officeholder more than any offence. Pres. Paula Mae’s handling of her sexuality is an interesting model. As for Jack Warner, the issue with him was more that he was appointed when we all knew it was just a matter of time before a charge was laid. And that at some point before he actually went, he ought to have. I can’t defend Darryl, Shamfa or Marlene. But, for the moment, Dillon’s offence is withholding information. Even after the press conference. The whole affair just highlights how “reservoir of patience with holders of high office has all but run dry.”

  26. His stand is no different from what he said about Marlene and the Intergrity commision.I am sorry this is very different from Jack Warner, he had several civil cases pending i let that slide, a documentary about his corrupt practices at Fifa that was too much but when you have Red Warrant, multiple international agencies seeking your arrest that’s off the rails. Dillion situation is no Jack Warner mess.

    • Joel, I think I stated pretty clearly that this was before Warner was charged for anything or before the FBI was interested. For the record, Rowley felt Warner wasn’t suited for Cabinet long before the PP.
      Still, satire ought not to be taken literally right? I mean surely there is a lot to unpack here besides Jack Warner right?

  27. “Politics has a morality of its own” claims former PM Basdeo Panday.
    He just might be right.

  28. Some people just gets the end of a story and run with it get the source of the story and then you can talk ….if forgot people knows your business more than you.

  29. Love this Lasana. An appropriate alternative Headline could be *Keeping them honest: From Our Recent Archives”

  30. Is Dillon on his way to doing road repairs in Cedros now in a new job?

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