“I knew nothing.”
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said he was in the dark about months-old company West Indian Cannabis Company Limited, a retail firm whose director is family to his wife.
Social media was busy yesterday sharing a highlighted copy of the company registration documents. Large red circles highlighted that one of the directors had the same surname of Al-Rawi’s wife.
However, the owner of the West Indian Cannabis Company Ltd (Wicannaco), Christopher Moses, yesterday denied his company had anything to do with marijuana, despite its company name and the branding on its clothing.
Moses is married to Jenna Marie Nahous—who is also listed as a director—who is related to Mona Nahous, wife of Attorney General Al-Rawi.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page last night, however, Moses alsodenied having any interaction with the Attorney General.
“I categorically state that I have no business dealings with Faris Al-Rawi whatsoever. I do not, nor did I discuss my business with him, as I have NO financial relationship with him. I do not posses any inside information pertaining to the cannabis industry as it comes to the fore in T&T and region wide,” Moses said as he responded to allegations that he may have had prior knowledge of the pending legislation which will decriminalise marijuana usage in T&T.
In an interview, Moses told Guardian Media that Wicannaco was just a clothing company using marijuana symbols for branding. He added, however, that due to the newfound popularity on social media, he was planning to jump into legal cannabis retail whenever the bill was passed.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
But after further discussions with his wife in the wake of the social media furore created over the past hours, Moses told the Guardian they had decided to “stay in our lane”.
“We have decided to stick to what we know. We had and have no intention of getting into the space beyond apparel,” Moses said.
The company’s website states that it sells merchandise and clothing with marijuana symbols.
Although Moses said it was only an apparel and merchandise company, the registration documents are broader and just lists the company as a retail company.
Moses confirmed that he was only now considering getting into the legal marijuana industry not only in T&T but also up the islands.
In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Al-Rawi said he received the company registration documents from the media yesterday and knew nothing of the company or the fact that it was registered only months ago in February.
Hours after learning of the link, however, Al-Rawi said he contacted his wife’s relative and learned the company sold clothing and was already in operation with a functional website and sales.
“I can confirm that the person is a relative of my wife,” the AG said.
“But this is the first time I am hearing of it and seeing this,” he said, referring to the company registration documents.
“My wife has a large family and they are involved in various businesses. I knew nothing of this.”
The apparel clothing company has as its main shareholder GV Holdings Limited. That company produces 3 Star Sportswear and Rossi sporting apparel.
The company was registered back in February, several months before Al-Rawi himself announced cannabis control legislation would be brought to Parliament for legalisation debate.
A company of the company registration for the West Indian Cannabis Company Limited, whose directors include an in-law of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lower House on Wednesday and in the Senate Friday night.
The Cannabis Control Bill, which is the retail and marketing aspect of the legalisation, is currently before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. Despite the latest development, Al-Rawi said he would not be recusing himself from cannabis debates or discussions in the future.
“Why should I?” Al-Rawi said.
“I am not in any way benefiting financially from any business.”
Rather, Al-Rawi described himself as an attorney and a property developer.
“I have no business interests in anything else,” he said.
In fact, he said if he recused himself from every discussion in which he had an interest, he would not be able to participate in tax amnesty debates or the demonetisation of the cotton-based $100 notes.
“Had I known about it, I would have declared it and would press on,” he said.
“I could only declare what I know.”
Meanwhile, Moses said while he usually remained silent on social media, he was planning to put out a statement and a link to his website.
“All my family from T&T (are) in the textile and garment industry and clothing line,” Moses said.
“Wicannco is just a clothing company.”
He said that while the company’s description was broad, the main purpose of the site and company was to “centralise press and media throughout the Caribbean.”
“I am not in the marijuana industry, it’s just a brand,” Moses added.
Moses said he was also taken aback by the attacks on social media just because of an “abstract connection” to the Attorney General.
“I’m politically exposed because my wife is not even blood-related to the AG?” Moses asked.
“That just doesn’t hold water.”
Meanwhile, marijuana activist Nazma Muller took to social media to question why, back in 2015, the Ministry of Legal Affairs refused to allow her to register “The Cannabis Foundation.” She said she was not allowed to use the ganja leaf symbol as the company logo for the Caribbean Collective for Justice either.
When Guardian Media posted Muller’s question to Al-Rawi, he said, “I have no role in the registration of companies.”
He provided two company registrations, one in 2015 and the other in 2016, adding, “You have seen for yourself that there are several companies with the name.”
He said the word was granted to companies before he became Attorney General.
“The Registrar General is the authority,” he said.
The Cannabis Control Authority will be the body allowed to grant licences to the persons seeking to become retail providers, as well as those hoping to transport, export and import the herb.
Jenna-Marine Nahous-Moses and her husband Christopher Moses, both directors of the West Indian Cannabis Company.
STATEMENT BY MOSES
My name is Christopher Moses; back in February of this year, I did in fact register a company, West Indian Cannabis Co LTD (WICC)
Please check out our website at www.wicannaco.com
Our business is in apparel!
Our team believes a global cannabis apparel brand is prime to emerge from the Caribbean region and in preparation of this movement we have been in the process of building an apparel brand and a news forum to centralize all of the medical marijuana industry related news and press throughout the region.
While we are still in the pre-execution stage of this venture; in light of today’s social media blast our group feels it be imperative to state the facts to dispel any rumors or assumptions made by certain persons.
In pursuit of building an apparel line named WICC (West Indian Cannabis Co) I knew I would need a partner with the experience and know how required to make this a successful venture.
Easily enough, I turned to and aligned myself with my own family, GV Holdings, based in Trinidad, who have been in the textile and garment industry for over 40 years who have successfully created many mass market brands regionally over the years including household names such as Rossi.
Further to the above, I categorically state that I have no business dealings with Faris Al-Rawi whatsoever. I do not, nor did I discuss my business with him as I have NO financial relationship with him. I do not posses any inside information pertaining to the cannabis industry as it comes to the fore in T&T and region wide.
Our business in apparel certainly could not - to any right minded person - feature in the deplorable allegations being made.
The whole world, and certainly the Caribbean, which market we serve in apparel, are way ahead of the current developments being discussed in Trinidad and Tobago.
Any attempts to discredit my name, this venture, or my partners involved is unwarranted, misleading and can only be described as scandalous, untruthful, and undoubtably politically motivated attempt to provoke a reaction.
We invite anyone who is an advocate for the decriminalization and proliferation of medical marijuana literature and information to join us at the launch of our West Indian Cannabis Co. Ltd clothing apparel line, next week Friday December 20th: at THC (The Hideout Clothing Co.) located on the 3rd floor of Long Circular Mall
Visit us and check out the variety of WICC apparel; which will also make for a great gift over the upcoming high holidays.
God bless Trinidad & Tobago and more importantly, God bless those who try to destroy it with envy, hate, and division.