A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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PM—anyone breaking the law must pay the price
Although she evaded questions about soca artiste Machel Montano’s assault conviction on Monday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said anyone breaking the law will have to pay for their actions. Speaking at the annual Prime Minister’s Children’s Christmas Treat at bpTT’s Resource Centre in Mayaro, Persad-Bissessar expressed sympathy over the outcome of Montano’s court case, saying it was unfortunate.
“I am very sorry for what has happened. I think he is a great musical icon, we all know that. We are very proud of his talents. But when you break the law, you will have to pay for it,” she said.
When asked her view on Montano’s continuing to be a cultural ambassador for the country, Persad-Bissessar said she was unaware that he held such a position. She said it was unfortunate that Montano and chutney soca artiste Ravi B were convicted of criminal offences when a lot of people looked up to them.
Ravi B (Ravi Bissambhar) was reprimanded and discharged in October after pleading guilty to inciting a crowd to throw missiles onstage at this year’s Chutney Soca Monarch finals when he lost. Persad-Bissessar said she did not believe the court’s ruling would detract from Montano’s talents, and hoped he would learn from the experience.
However, she said she wanted to refrain from making any adverse comments on the matter, as Montano’s guilty verdict might not be the end of the issue because he could appeal. She cautioned people to be carefeful about what was said on the matter. Montano has been a regular act on the People’s Partnership’s political platform, even thanking the prime minister in his 2012 NLCB International Power Soca Monarch winning song, Advantage.
Government has also spent millions of dollars on Montano’s Going for Gold CD, which was released in conjunction with the ministry of planning to commemorate T&T’s Golden Jubilee independence celebrations. Asked about the CD, Persad-Bissessar said those issues should be raised with the relevant ministers.
Asked if she would be attending Montano’s pre-Carnival Machel Monday concert, the PM said she might be campaigning for the Tobago House of Assembly elections during that time. Carnival falls on February 11 and 12 next year and the THA election is on January 21. The PM said if she liked the songs for Carnival 2013, she might go to the concert.
One day after he was found guilty on four assault charges, entertainer Machel Montano remained closeted in his recording studio. Although calls to Montano’s cell phone went unanswered yesterday, his mother Liz confirmed that her son had spent Monday night locked away and engrossed in his work.
Pressed for information as to Montano’s mood and general demeanour yesterday, Liz requested that the T&T Guardian call back. Several attempts to reach her later on were unsuccessful. An assistant answered once and said she was in a meeting.
When contacted, Montano’s attorney Dana Seetahal, SC, refused to answer questions relating to her client, saying, “I would prefer not to comment until the matter is concluded.” Asked if she had spoken to Montano yesterday, Seetahal stressed that it was a confidential matter and subject to attorney-client privilege. Meanwhile, attorney Keith Scotland, who represents Kernal Roberts, who was found guilty on two assault charges, also declined comment when contacted.