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Moonilal: Rowley is no victim
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley is no “victim,” even though he’s being made out to be that, according to PP House Leader Roodal Moonilal.
He said so as he concluded debate In Parliament in Wednesday’s motion of censure against Rowley. This was approved and Rowley was suspended for the rest of the term which ends on June 17. ILP leader Jack Warner voted against it.
The motion was based on Rowley’s May 2013 presentation of e-mails which he claimed showed a multi-pronged “conspiracy” by government officials on the Section 34 issue.
Government, in debate, produced confirmation from international and local experts that the e-mails were fake.
Moonilal, denying the motion was brought to dent Rowley’s “popularity”, said Rowley had portrayed himself as a victim in the situation but the Government had obtained the proof the e-mails were fake and had returned to Parliament to deal with what Rowley had brought up in the Parliament in 2013 and which had hung over the PP’s head since then.
“Mr Warner also spoke of Rowley as a victim and demonised us but he’s (Rowley) a perpetrator of damaging accusations on Government’s integrity.”
Moonilal, who said Rowley had painted a picture of intrigue with the “e-mails”, designed to provoke public unrest in a divisive “rivers of blood” speech”, has challenged Rowley to say if he would denounce violence as a means of removing a constitutionally-elected government.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had instructed Moonilal to bring the motion and had done the research.
She said the motion was based on the Constitution (Section 55) regarding freedom of speech and Parliament’s ability to regulate its own processes, including such freedoms. She said it could not be that any MP could say anything without checks and balances.
She said Colm Imbert’s arguments against the issue did not deal with Parliament’s Standing Order (55/16) which ensured nothing be done to deprive the Parliament of power to proceed against any MP, via a House resolution.
“We listened to all their motions against us but the PNM has no respect for Parliament and fled after their nonsensical argument on abuse of process,” she added.
Persad-Bissessar said Government had given the PNM much notice on the motion to ensure fairness of procedure which, she said, UNC leader Basdeo Panday and MP Chandresh Sharma didn’t get when they were suspended from Parliament on the spot in previous years.
She said Imbert didn’t defend Rowley on the e-mails and tried to distract from the real issue, ownership of the emails, to which Rowley had agreed.
She said once the e-mails were found to be false, the substance also was.
“If the backbone collapses, the whole body collapses,” she added.
On the alleged contents, Persad-Bissessar said bits and pieces of material had been collected from isolated issues—reports of “meetings”, a US official’s name, a security officer going abroad—and converted via reverse engineering to fabricate e-mail content.
She said Warner would have known of the officer attending a seminar overseas since he was National Security Minister then. Warner nodded. She said the information on the trip was manipulated to make it appear part of a sinister plot.
She said the claim of “bugging” the DPP’s office was probed by the police and a report from the Police Commissioner stated no bugging devices were found.
She said sweeps of the office by Special Branch and other officers were done in May 2013, 2014 and up to March 2015 and no “overt or covert devices” were found.
Noting the PP had decried the PNM’s bugging of people’s phones and brought legislation to halt that, she added: “The PNM knows what they are capable of and believes everyone would do it.”
On e-mails’ claim of “meetings” on the Section 34 conspiracy, she said from 6 am after the Section 34 issue the Government had been mired in working to repeal the legislation, bring it to Cabinet, Parliament, debate it and pass it.
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