UNC to file motion of privileges against Attorney General

The Opposition intends to file a Motion of Privileges against Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, following his statement in the Parliament in which he declared that his ministry has launched an audit to determine if the UNC contracted Cambridge Analytica.

The Opposition has maintained that it never contracted the firm

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar issued the following statement on Wednesday evening:

"We intend to file in Parliament, at the earliest opportunity, a motion of breach of privilege by the Attorney General for his malicious and deliberate falsehood.

More fake news as distractions from all the symptoms of a collapsing government, including endangering lives on the water taxi, collapsed Sea Bridge; backtrack on helping Dominica, fake oil friends, Dillon’s Mr. Piper friend, Darryl’s romps and more.

I wish to categorically condemn as a malicious, deliberate falsehood, allegations made today by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi concerning the global controversy that has evolved over the issue involving social media giant Facebook and British data analysis firm SCL/Cambridge Analytica where he (AG) stated, in various forms and manner, that the UNC party/and or UNC members of the People’s Partnership Government of 2010-2015 were responsible for data harvesting via this firm’s services.

The Attorney General’s statement, by virtue of what appears to be calculated omissions and deliberate vagueness, amounted to a mischievous effort to mislead the Parliament, and by extension, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, in what is undoubtedly an important issue regarding their privacy rights in the uncontrolled and largely unregulated global virtual world of social media.

Mr Al Rawi cited brief statements made by a whistle-blower by the name of Christopher Wiley in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, who claimed that the company dealt with a former Government Minister and political officials, but did not specify the names or any further details of such claims.

The Attorney General, without providing any such names or documents or evidence, went on to put his own dubious spin on these limited allegations by Mr Wiley.

With a clear intention to serve a mischievous and desperate political agenda in the wake of the massive failures and corrupt practices of his ruling Rowley regime, the Attorney General maliciously claimed, without referencing any shred of evidence in any form, that this alleged dealing was perpetrated by the “UNC politicians” and “Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led Government.”

I wish to once more, on the record, categorically deny my personal involvement at any time or in any fashion with these companies, as well as refute all such claims about the United National Congress party that I lead.

I reiterate my previous comments and say that in no way, manner or form did the UNC Members of the former People’s Partnership Coalition Government nor did any member of our Party Executive have any such interaction or dealings, engagements or contracts with SCL/Cambridge Analytica before 2010, post 2010, before 2015 or post 2015.

Further, I find it reprehensible that the Attorney General, who is charged with overseeing the legal welfare of ALL citizens of this country, would choose to continue his much condemned and vile practice of blatant political partisanship and cheap politicking to the detriment of the honour and dignity of the Office he holds, to make such statements under the sacred privilege of Parliament, without a shred of evidence, but also, while possibly knowing them to be false.

I state this due to the fact that my close examination of the Attorney General’s statement demonstrates that in its majority, it constitutes near verbatim phrases and paragraphs taken off various Internet forums, with convenient amendments by way of falsehoods and innuendo to suit his questionable political propaganda and sinister agenda.

It is in this context, therefore, that I note that the ‘Google research” method utilised by the Attorney General in the preparation of this statement easily provides more information on the brief allegations made by Mr Wyley during his House of Common’s appearance, regarding the firm’s alleged work in Trinidad.

Had Mr Al Rawi chosen to share more of his google research, rather than the bits and pieces of information that suits his sinister political agenda, he would have shared in the parliament and therefore, with the national population, the fact that other credible news sources have already elucidated on the Wiley claims.

In particular, a mere “Google Search” of this matter today provided me with the following details, contained in a news article published by top and internationally reputed Canadian broadcaster and news service, the CBC News (www.cbc.ca/news/technology/aggregateiq-brexit-ted-cruz-aiq-scl-cambridge....

SEE excerpts below and in particular – “The Company’s first contract with SCL was in 2013, for political work in Trinidad and Tobago with the country's Congress of the People party.”

It is therefore evident from this respectable and credible news report from the CBC News of Canada that the UNC was NOT the political party referred to by Mr Wylie, nor were any of its sitting members of the People’s Partnership Government.

It can also be concluded that the Attorney General had easy access to this public information, yet deliberately opted to omit it from his Parliamentary statement in an effort to wrongly and unjustly smear the UNC and its leader and members.

I roundly condemn such an action of the Attorney General which is very similar to the modus operandi utilised by his political leader, the Honourable Prime Minister, when, in May of 2013, as Opposition Leader, he sought to employ deliberate vagueness and falsehood in his now debunked, notorious and scandalous, false “Emailgate claims” for which he is yet to apologise, withdraw. This is like Emailgate 2 – under parliament privilege.

This ongoing pattern of using Parliamentary privilege to willingly and knowingly deceive the population is now a dangerous trait of the current PNM administration and its leading members, and it is significantly dangerous to the welfare, democracy and integrity of the Parliament and we intend to file a motion of breach of privilege by the Attorney General in Parliament, at the earliest opportunity."

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