PM: Kamla can’t deny massive legal payout

Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley has said that Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar can­not de­ny hav­ing knowl­edge that mas­sive amounts of monies were be­ing paid out in le­gal fees at the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al dur­ing her tenure as prime min­is­ter from 2010 to 2015.

He made the state­ment on Tues­day night dur­ing a PNM po­lit­i­cal meet­ing at the Sig­na­ture Hall, Ch­agua­nas.

Row­ley said when he was Op­po­si­tion Leader he brought it to the at­ten­tion of Per­sad-Bisses­sar that the bud­get for the of­fice of the AG rose from $20 mil­lion a year be­fore the UFF in­quiry to $60 mil­lion then by mid-year to $84 mil­lion and then to $100 mil­lion by the end of the year.

Row­ley said de­spite his pleas, Per­sad-Bisses­sar failed to stop the haem­or­rhage of funds.

He said, “Mrs Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar was there when every query was made from the very first one to $100 mil­lion. And I tell you worse when it got to $100 mil­lion they said it was all about fight­ing cor­rup­tion, PNM cor­rup­tion be­cause as far as they con­cerned it has PNM law and UNC law, it has PNM cor­rup­tion and UNC cor­rup­tion. But I made the state­ment then it would be a hell of a thing that the mon­ey you are spend­ing to fight cor­rup­tion be­comes it­self the cat­a­lyst for more cor­rup­tion, so say, so done.”

He added: “Be­cause at $100 mil­lion a year, if they had kept it on that lev­el, it would have been $500 mil­lion, they tripled it $1.6 bil­lion and Mrs Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar sat there and ap­proved it every sin­gle year. And what is worse when Anand Ram­lo­gan crashed she looked around for an AG in­clud­ing one in the Par­lia­ment.”

Row­ley said the Life Sport Pro­gramme al­so went up from its pro­posed $6 mil­lion bud­get to $400 mil­lion. He said that too was rid­dled with con­tro­ver­sy.

The PM al­so knocked the UNC for not sup­port­ing Gov­ern­ment’s leg­is­la­tion to fight cor­rup­tion de­spite the ris­ing crime.

Row­ley said the po­lice raids, con­duct­ed in Gulf City, was not con­nect­ed in any way to the UNC. “I can tell you now what hap­pened at Gulf View had noth­ing what­so­ev­er to do with the UNC prob­lem in the court house. This is a com­plete­ly sep­a­rate mat­ter in­volv­ing life and limb and se­ri­ous crim­i­nal­i­ty,” he al­so said.

The Prime Min­is­ter said there are pro­vi­sions in the law for the po­lice to en­ter with­out a war­rant in or­der to pre­serve life.

He cit­ed a re­cent ex­am­ple when po­lice en­tered a house to pre­vent a man from chop­ping a woman.

“The man died, the woman had six or sev­en chops and ap­par­ent­ly this man was pre­pared to chop her like a dead pig, un­der our cer­tain cir­cum­stances a war­rant may not be re­quired if the ex­i­gen­cies of the cir­cum­stances re­quire that you in­ter­vene.”

He said the Op­po­si­tion and cer­tain re­li­gion lead­ers jumped on the band­wag­on with the in­ten­tion of di­vid­ing T&T along re­li­gious and eth­nic lines.

He said. “One Pun­dit has to say if was West­moor­ings how come no po­lice ever go in­to West­moor­ings. That does not help out peo­ple, it does not put our chil­dren on s strong foot­ing. What it tells the chil­dren, es­pe­cial­ly the chil­dren of East In­di­an her­itage that they are be­ing dis­crim­i­nat­ed against and they are sec­ond class, that Pun­dit nev­er heard of the drug raid in West­moor­ings where peo­ple were ar­rest­ed and sur­prised all of us that they had so much drugs in West­moor­ings. That pun­dit didn’t hear that it was a West­moor­ings house that the po­lice broke in and took out 19 young ladies.”

He said de­spite his Gov­ern­ment be­ing crit­i­cised, they have been able to do a lot with few­er funds, man­ag­ing to stay clear of the IMF and not de­fault­ed on its debt re­pay­ments.

He al­so said—

•$1 bil­lion spent month­ly in pub­lic sec­tor wages and a $5 bil­lion loan was tak­en to pay back-pay to pub­lic ser­vants.

•The Bri­an­Lara Acad­e­my should be get­ting ICC recog­ni­tion soon.

• 22 schools’ projects are about to be restart­ed.

•High­ways to Point Fortin and Va­len­cia are un­der con­struc­tion.

•Con­tracts have been award­ed for the Point Fortin High­way from the Point Fortin end to the Mos­qui­to Creek.

 - by Sashtri Boodan

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