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Hadeed ducks questions on ‘rat talk’
Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed yesterday attempted to leave the weekly post-Cabinet news conference before it ended after being asked to comment on a recording of a voice that sounded similar to his describing some Cabinet members as rats. The recording was aired on CNC3 last month and the minister had not responded to questions on the matter. It came after a video of a man resembling a Cabinet minister was seen in a hotel room wrapping what appeared to be marijuana.
Yesterday, nearing the end of the news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Hadeed was asked to comment on the audio recording. He said he was in the Tourism Development Ministry and he would not answer questions on that matter. He did not confirm or deny it was his voice on the recording. He then got up and left the head table in an attempt to leave the room along with Public Utilities Minister Nizam Baksh before the event was declared over. Director of Public Information and Communications at the Office of the Prime Minister, Dennis Mc Commie, who chaired the proceedings had simultaneously asked reporters if they had any more questions, to which one reporter responded: “Ministers are leaving.”
The two ministers returned to their seats and more questions were posed to Hadeed on the same matter. He responded: “Well I am not prepared to answer the question. I am not making a story out of the story. My position is that I am not making a story out of another story.” As journalists continued to attempt to get Hadeed to comment on the issue, he quickly insisted: “I am not prepared to answer at all.” He earlier announced incentives for small hoteliers in the country for repairs to their properties. The measures are costing the Government more than $87 million over three years. It provides for hoteliers to reclaim in cash 20 per cent of the cost of the repairs up to a total of $750,000.