Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was yesterday forced to withdraw a “racist and hatred” statement he made against Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen which caused an uproar in the Senate.
The incident took place while Ramdeen was delivering his contribution on the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill.
In giving his views on the legislation, Ramdeen described it as “as a good PR stunt for the Government to tell the country that in fighting crime you must explain your wealth.”
He suggested that when the legislation is implemented, the first people who should explain how they acquire their wealth was people in the Government.
Ramdeen said it was high time that people who got a jump start in life many years ago should be made to account to the population about their wealth.
“You want to tell people that if your wealth is over $500,000 you must explain your wealth. What if it is over $500 million in one generation? We turn in one generation, from indentureship and slavery, get an education to become doctors and lawyers. But it have people who in this country, in one generation, they turn from selling cloth....to being multi...they almost own the entire country. And you want to tell us about explaining our wealth?” Ramdeen said.
Senate President Christine Kangaloo immediately cautioned Ramdeen to “watch it, please!” as he was stepping out of line.
Ramdeen tried to get Al-Rawi’s attention, but he was pulled up by Kangaloo who told him to direct his comments to her.
A visibly upset Ramdeen asked Kangaloo if she heard what the AG had said about him.
“He said I was engaging in racism,” Ramdeen said.
Opposition Senator Taharqa Obika jumped in, stating the AG had accused Ramdeen of “racism and hatred.”
“I wish, Members of the Chamber would leave the running of the Chamber to me, okay. Attorney General if it is you said that, please withdraw it,” Kangaloo told Al-Rawi who admitted “I did say it and I withdraw it.”
Earlier, Ramdeen said the Government was bringing “half baked legislation to the House. You bring a bill in the Lower House and when you finish debate it had 35 amendments.”
Ramdeen said there were gaps in certain clauses of the bill which the Cabinet had approved.
While the Government boasted that the bill will serve to reduce crime, Ramdeen said there were 21 murders as of April 15.
“You would fear no different with this than you feared under the Anti-Gang legislation that you said the police was crying out for. You see this idea that the Government wants to take all the credit...every time they talk about a piece of criminal legislation is the Commissioner of Police. Like the Commissioner of Police is a member of the Cabinet.”
He said the bill was just to fool the population as crime and criminality were at its worst in the history of the country.
“We will get support, but the day you seek to use this legislation to persecute any citizen who worked hard and you want them to explain their wealth, you will answer in the court of law,” Ramdeen said.