Last update: 23-Jul-2014 10:50 pm
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Rowley on Ramadharsingh’s firing: We’re not impressed
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says sacked minister Glenn Ramadharsingh should have never been in the Cabinet. He made the comment at a meeting at Bon Air High School, Arouca, on Tuesday night, hours after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar sacked Ramadharsingh after receiving a report on an incident involving the Caroni Central MP and a Caribbean Airlines flight attendant onboard a flight from Tobago.
Addressing his supporters, Rowley said Ramadharsingh’s sacking was a good start by the Prime Minister. “In our book Glenn Ramadharsingh wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. If they would have gone back to his record at UWI, you would have known,” Rowley stressed. He said if Planning and Sustainable Development Minister Bhoendradatt Tewarie “is the man he said he is supposed to be, he wouldn’t be in the Cabinet with him in the first place. So we are not impressed with his removal.”
Ramadharsingh was president of the Students’ Guild while Tewarie was the principal of University of the West Indies’s St Augustine campus.
Moments after speaking about Ramadharsingh, Rowley raised an issue of alleged sexual abuse involving an unnamed government minister. He said a few months ago, a woman, whom he did not name, claimed she had been sexually abused in her office in a ministry. The woman, he said, went to a lawyer who was a PNM parliamentarian with her husband, who was a policeman, with the intention of pressing charges against the minister.
Rowley said the matter was brought to his attention because it was very sensitive. In turn, he advised the parliamentarian lawyer “not to take that matter, because it would be immediately viewed as political, and fairness may not be seen to be prevailing.”
He told the crowd he had directed his colleague to tell the woman to go to another lawyer who did not have PNM affiliations. However, he said when she did this, the unnamed minister then offered her “a piece of government property to keep quiet about his conduct.” He said subsequently, the sexual abuse complaint was dropped and the woman, who had not applied for an Housing Development Corporation unit, was the beneficiary of one.
On another matter, Rowley was critical of the Government for the numerous contracts it was offering to Chinese contractors under so-called government-to-government arrangements. He said over $7 billion in contracts were being awarded without the supervision of Parliament. He also noted that there was a provision in the contracts for the supply of obsolete equipment in the new hospitals government proposes to build.
Rowley also appealed to hundreds of PNM supporters to assemble outside Parliament tomorrow in a show of protest against alleged government corruption. He is to present a motion calling on the Prime Minister to stop the contract given to Super Industrial Services for a $1.6 billion water recycling plant at Beetham in an National Gas Company/WASA project. Rowley has said that the bid process was manipulated to allow for SIS to get the contract, describing the project as “the last outrage of robbery at the treasury.”
He told supporters he wanted just enough people to make a symbolic ring around the Parliament.