Moonilal goes to court this week

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley’s law­suit against Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Mooni­lal will be heard in court this week.

He told par­ty sup­port­ers at the PNM’st 48th An­nu­al Con­ven­tion at Shaw Park, To­ba­go, the Op­po­si­tion has been ped­dling fake news and de­scribed as a “mon­strous lie” claims that he had a bank ac­count in Flori­da and had re­ceived mon­ey from AV Drilling.

In his wide rang­ing ad­dress, Row­ley said crime and cor­rup­tion were two of the biggest threats fac­ing T&T and they re­quire a con­sis­tent fight by his Gov­ern­ment.

“Not a white col­lar crim­i­nal has seen the in­side of a jail yet,” he said.

He said his Gov­ern­ment has been go­ing af­ter white-colour crime in Eden Gar­dens, the Port Au­thor­i­ty and the EM­BD, which many viewed as a witch hunt for cheap po­lit­i­cal points.

“But his­tor­i­cal­ly noth­ing ever seemed to be con­clud­ed and per­sons were nev­er held ac­count­able, so I un­der­stand your scep­ti­cism and cyn­i­cism,” he said.

The Prime Min­is­ter said in so­cial cir­cuits and rum shops peo­ple have been say­ing they do not mind if “the Gov­ern­ment thief as long as they run some mon­ey and they could get some­thing.”

He added: “That is what peo­ple are ask­ing you to ac­cept… ask­ing you to ac­cept can­di­dates with crim­i­nal charges over their heads, ask­ing you to ac­cept lead­er­ship in par­ties with peo­ple who are known to have ques­tions to an­swer for the pub­lic trust.”

Row­ley urged the pop­u­la­tion to re­ject in­fec­tions which can lead to the coun­try’s eco­nom­ic stran­gu­la­tion.

Row­ley said some peo­ple feel that on­ly “a thief­ing gov­ern­ment” could per­form to sat­is­fy their needs.

He vowed to lead the fight against white-col­lar crime which he as­sured would nei­ther be “po­lit­i­cal or per­son­al.”

Stat­ing that T&T was faced with a can­cer of cor­rup­tion which was en­rich­ing the lives of many, Row­ley said: “For too long jus­tice did not pre­vail in cor­rup­tion scan­dals. We need to walk this coun­try back to where pol­i­tics is a no­ble call­ing.”

He gave the ex­am­ples of the Curepe In­ter­change and Man­zanil­la High­way projects which un­der the UNC were cost­ing tax­pay­ers $336 mil­lion more than his Gov­ern­ment had ten­dered for.

“How is that pos­si­ble? Ask your­self, where were that $336 mil­lion dol­lars go­ing?” he asked.

He al­so list­ed six projects—the Point Fortin Hos­pi­tal, Red House, White Hall, San­gre Grande Hos­pi­tal, Pres­i­dent’s House and Bri­an Lara Crick­et Sta­di­um—which the PNM had re-ten­dered when they took of­fice in 2015. Those projects are now cost­ing tax­pay­ers $1.565 bil­lion less.

He said in a bid to stop cor­rup­tion, the Whistle­blow­er Pro­tec­tion Bill was laid in Par­lia­ment and went be­fore a com­mit­tee. How­ev­er, he said, the Op­po­si­tion re­ject­ed, de­layed and ob­ject­ed to the leg­is­la­tion and it was tak­en out of com­mit­tee.

“We will get it to the floor for de­bate with a spe­cial ma­jor­i­ty and oth­er amend­ments they want­ed and we will put it to the vote at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­ni­ty. By the end of March we will have our Par­lia­ment vote on that.”

On the is­sue of cam­paign fi­nance re­form, Row­ley said since 2011 the PNM has been the on­ly po­lit­i­cal par­ty which has been co-op­er­at­ing in ef­fort to en­act leg­is­la­tion.

He said leg­is­la­tion would be in­tro­duced next year with the ex­pec­ta­tion that it will be en­act­ed well ahead of the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion.

“We have in­volved the courts and the po­lice. Many mat­ters are en­gag­ing law en­force­ment and that ex­plains the be­hav­iour dis­played by some of my par­lia­men­tary col­leagues and their en­ablers,” he said

Row­ley, who de­vot­ed a size­able por­tion of his ad­dress to “threats post­ed on so­cial me­dia”, said lo­cal news­rooms were “flood­ed with a con­stant di­et of mis­in­for­ma­tion and fake news from idle for­mer UNC mil­lion­aire min­is­ters and their paid agents and un­der­lings work­ing over­time to shape the na­tion­al psy­che af­ter their own like­ness and im­age.”

Row­ley urged ed­i­tors to do fact check­ing be­fore sto­ries go pub­lic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.