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Bharath takes Rowley to task on Udecott corruption talk
Communications Minister Vasant Bharath has dismissed Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s claims that he acted decisively on allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott). Bharath made the statement in a press release yesterday evening in response to comments made by Rowley in a recent newspaper report. Rowley’s comments focused on allegations from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar which were made following his speech which dealt with his role in Udecott fiasco, at a Rotary Club luncheon at Goodwill Industries in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday. “When I was minister with responsibility for Udecott, I acted decisively. The Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar cannot show me that in her Government,” Rowley was quoted as saying.
In his response, yesterday, Bharath sought to take Rowley to task on his claim of “decisiveness” instead saying he acted “spitefully”. “Dr Rowley cannot expect to be taken seriously with such a disingenuous statement. It cannot take five years to be decisive on one very clear and obvious issue. He is on record as saying that although he found massive corruption in 2003, he remained in Cabinet, campaigned for the PNM in 2007 and it was only in 2008 after he was fired from the Cabinet that he spoke about rampant corruption,” Bharath said. He also sought to defend Persad-Bissessar’s comments on the issue. “The Prime Minister made it very clear that the Opposition leader played a key role in the collapse of the PNM Administration because of his silence and permissiveness in the face of rampant corruption and because of his arrogance and refusal to listen and understand the concerns of citizens,” Bharath said.
Bharath agreed with the Prime Minister’s comments where she accused Rowley of turning the issue into a political theatre when he spoke in Parliament in 2009 and attempted to berate his leader and then prime minister Patrick Manning. “There was never a national interest, it was always about Dr Rowley’s interest and for the Opposition leader to now try to wiggle out of guilt because he believes the nation has forgotten is an indictment on his already poor leadership,” Bharath said. Alleging that Rowley’s statement should be scrutinised by the public, Bharath said: “These are facts and it is a history that cannot be re-written and his brazen attempt to do so makes it clear that Dr Keith Rowley simply cannot be trusted, and his word cannot be taken seriously.”