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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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PP leaked video as diversion, says Al-Rawi
The People’s National Movement (PNM) is accusing the People’s Partnership Government of deliberately leaking a video, purportedly showing a government minister rolling a marijuana cigarette, so as to not deal with allegations of certain gangs being awarded government contracts. The video, which was posted on YouTube and aired locally on Wednesday night, showed a man resembling a government minister unwrapping a cigarette, placing a quantity of marijuana inside the cigarette skin and then rolling it back together. The man appeared to be in a hotel room with two women. Yesterday, PNM public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi said it was possible the video may have been leaked by government representatives to divert public attention from recent allegations of gangs being given State contracts which have been widely reported in the media.
He added: “The PNM wants to know whether the UNC itself leaked this video so as not to deal with a much larger problem when one appreciates that the Prime Minister has said absolutely nothing about claims that the Life Sport Programme is funding criminal and gang activities in Carapo. “If the video confirms what people suspect it to be and if the minister is removed the government would have extricated itself from having to explain to the criminal elements why ghost gangs can no longer be funded.” Saying this incident was yet another scandal in the PP Government, Al-Rawi said the video, which has gone viral, appeared to have caused serious concerns and liability to “someone who resembles and sounds like the loudest member of the PP Government.
“The pursuit of criminality in this country has to start with Cabinet members and they too have to be held accountable for their own deeds. I can only pray that this Government’s media campaign which requests another six years is nothing but a dark and sick comedy of cynicism,” Al-Rawi added. Contacted yesterday, National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he too had seen the video. On whether a criminal investigation would be launched, Griffith said he did not have the authority to mandate the police to conduct a probe. “I cannot tell the police what to do. The launch of a criminal investigation is solely for police officers. As National Security Minister I do not play a role in that,” Griffith said.
Asked what he thought about the video and its potential repercussions for the Government, Griffith refused to comment. Also contacted yesterday, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said he had heard about the video but had not yet seen it. “At this point I have no comment because at this time I have not seen the video. I am only hearing of it,” Williams added. The story yesterday made regional headlines, including being reported by Guyana’s StabroekNews.