An unnamed political party has already "locked down" $5 million worth of airtime from local media companies for elections and has also pledged $1 billion for the election campaign to remove the People's Partnership administration from office, says Works Minister Suruj Rambachan.Rambachan made the claim during his contribution to yesterday's budget debate in Parliament. He did not identify the political party to which he referred, or who led it.
He, however, began and ended his address with criticism of former colleague, Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner–now Independent Liberal Party leader–as well as the PNM in between.On the "mystery" party that had pledged $1 billion to remove the Government, Rambachan added: "I really wonder, I really wonder...whether this money has been pledged from five Cayman Islands' accounts of 25 firms that is owned by family members of this political party."
PNM MPs Paula Gopee-Scoon and Alicia Hospedales, listening all agog, declared: "Not the PNM!...no, absolutely not the PNM!"Rambachan added: "(Yes) very startling news–$1 billion pledged to remove this Government...from 25 firms where family members are directors.""I wonder if all of these companies and directorships have been declared to the Integrity Commission?" he asked.
"That's why we need legislation dealing with campaign finance reform; some people have very, very interesting subterfuge objective why they get into politics."Rambachan then pointed to the March 3, 2012, Parliament record of former works minister Warner's address in the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.He said Warner had spoken about how he had removed him (Rambachan) as Chaguanas mayor and that Warner had said PP members had an "investment" in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Rambachan, however, said Persad-Bissessar couldn't be "bought, sold, traded and was incorruptible."Maybe the Chaguanas West MP is accustomed to buying and selling people and maybe that was what the problem was...maybe he thought he could have control," he said."There was no 'cabal' when he acted as Prime Minister on five occasions. But he's not there and suddenly there's a 'cabal.'"
Rambachan also said Warner had accused him of discriminating against Felicity and other places regarding his ministerial work.He reeled off a list of work done by his ministry in Chaguanas West, including 13 drainage projects worth $21 million in Beujcal and paving of 34 roads in Chaguanas West."This accusation is very, very, vicious...It's meant to turn people's minds against me, but I am a performing minister and fair to everyone," Rambachan said.
"I wouldn't have the Chaguanas West MP create any image that this minister is someone who is against any particular group or area in T&T. The records are there to show."