Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Montano: We may have been misled
Independent Liberal Party (ILP) chairman Robin Montano has said he would not condone the party’s candidate Kerwin Bucchan’s contesting local government polls if Bucchan lied to the party’s screening team and was really a “double deportee.” Montano responded yesterday when asked about claims by PP’s Dr Roodal Moonilal on Monday about ILP candidates including that Bucchan being a “double deportee,” a person who was twice deported from the United States after being found guilty of criminal offences.
Moonilal said Bucchan—now before the courts in T&T—was deported from the US in 2008 for guns and ammunition and again in 2011 for guns and narcotics plus illegal entry and stay in the US. When Bucchan appeared in court last week he was remanded into custody pending tracing by Interpol. When he was first apprehended, Montano was uncertain Bucchan would still qualify to be an ILP candidate, but ILP leader Jack Warner subsequently said he was standing behind Bucchan.
Moonilal also read out an e-mail allegedly from Montano to Warner expressing concern about some ILP candidates. Moonilal called for Montano to distance himself from questionable ILP candidates and the ILP. Montano was asked by T&T Guardian why he had been absent from ILP’s frontlines for the last two public meetings—last Sunday and on Monday. He said his mother was ill.
Montano said to his knowledge Bucchan was not a deportee. He said he did not know if Bucchan was still in police custody. He said if Bucchan was indeed a deportee, then the ILP’s screening team had been “horribly misled.” Montano added, “If things indicate he has lied and he is a deportee then certainly I can’t condone this. If he is a deportee, clearly he lied to us. Assuming but not accepting he’s a deportee, we wouldn’t have chosen him.
“But as of this moment I agree with Mr Warner, a man is innocent until proven guilty and I’d like to hear what Bucchan has to say before condemning him,” Montano added. On Moonilal’s claims about ILP Mon Repos candidate Regan Boxhill and police issues, Montano said Boxill had dropped out.
On Moonilal’s claims about other ILP candidates who formerly worked in a casino and a bank, Montano said he could not comment, although the ILP had a couple candidates employed with various banks. He said ILP had sought letters from the banks. “We interviewed over 500 people. If we were lied to by any of those 500 plus, shame on them,” Montano added. Montano said the e-mail address Moonilal gave is indeed his e-mail address. But he said he genuinely didn’t remember sending an e-mail like that to Warner.
Montano added: “I have thousands of e-mails so I’d have to verify it. Assuming but not accepting it’s my e-mail how the heck did he (Moonilal) get it. “I didn’t give my e-mail to anyone. It could only mean my e-mail account has been hacked. I have indeed been hearing on my phone line the same sort of echo I used to hear when Patrick Manning was in power which leads me to believe my phone is being tapped again.”
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