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Roodal: PNM will deal with ‘Ram-Lee alliance’
Ram Lee! That’s what PP House leader Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday dubbed the new political combo of former UNC Attorney General Ramsey Lawrence Maharaj and PAM leader Dr Keith Rowley who he reminded once said he did not trust Maharaj. At yesterday’s Parliament sitting, Moonilal, while defending the Defence (Amendment) Bill — to precept soldiers in the anti-crime fight—devoted a large chunk of his address to Rowley’s alliance with Maharaj.
Recalling that Rowley once said if he saw Maharaj coming in one direction, he would go the opposite way, Moonilal said: “Today they seem to be backing into one another and their directions have ended up in the same place. “When I saw the photos on the newspapers, they looked very close and chummy.
“He (Rowley) has brought his great party into disrepute but that will be dealt with by its General Council when appropriate reports are made against him.” Moonilal added: “ I encourage my friend from Diego Martin West to please keep that company and intensify that relationship. It will help us in the Government.”
He noted Rowley’s comment in a 2007 debate that the PNM “had no Ramsey” and that he had refused to talk to Maharaj then and that he did not trust Maharaj “as far as he could throw him.” He said: “From this in 2007, we now have ‘Ram Lee’ today. I raise that point as there’s an issue of opportunism and expediency with which they are moving that undermines their pronouncements on public policy, their credibility and moral authority.
“They are more concerned with collapsing the Government than resolving crime. If they believe ‘Ram Lee’ could come to town and shake it up and return them to power, this Government will be in place for the next 24 months. “They will get no hope in ‘Ram Lee’ or whatever other combination they embark upon.”
He said for the 2015 general election, the 422,000 people who voted the PP into office would pronounce on whether it had dealt with issues it had been elected to address and the “PNM/Ram Lee” would get its chance though the PNM had brought no plan on crime in three years. Moonilal said if the Government tried to act on crime the PNM was angry and if it did nothing the same occurred.
He said “Ram Lee” felt it could make a comeback if crime continued. He, however, noted how Maharaj was defeated in UNC interal election when he made a bid to lead the party. Moonilal told PNM’s Colm Imbert he was in trouble now due to the “Ram Lee” alliance. He urged PNMites to follow their leader, who had “abandoned the (balisier) tie. and join ‘Ram Lee’.”
Next concession for police
Government may contemplate an alternative role for the National Security Minister in the Defence Act (Amendment) Bill to precept soldiers to assist police in crime-fighting, House Leader Dr Roodal Moonilal said yesterday. It was yet another concessions by Government on the bill, which has caused concern in some sectors.
Last week in Parliament Government presented the bill with amendments, saying it had noted public comments. Those amendments included a 24-month sunset clause and empowering the Police Complaints Authority to hear complaints against soldiers. In his contribution yesterday, Moonilal said while the bill was strong action, the two-year sunset clause meant if the legislation did not work, it could be halted.
He said it may even be only for 22 or 20 months since soldiers would require a couple months’ training in various areas. Moonilal said the role of the minister in the bill was raised by the Police Second Division Association, which met government officials on Tuesday. He said the association had not seen the amendments tabled in Parliament last week. He said Government was prepared to look at the issue of the role of the minister and other concerns raised in a bid to enhance the bill.
Moonilal said the association also examined the issue of arrests, detaining and interrogation and had come with recommendations and was happy with them. He assured that the police would drive the process involving soldiers in the anti-crime fight and soldiers would assist police and would not initiate operations. He said Government also received documents from the Law Association, whose observations were also being considered.
Moonilal said Government had to walk a line between stern action and upholding democratic principles. He said police would receive 88 more vehicles in June and 2,500 bulletproof vests in the near future.
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