Former People’s Partnership minister Vasant Bharath is urging Finance Minister Colm Imbert to stop bringing up old issues on the political platform to garner votes and instead focus on current matters affecting the population.
He was responding yesterday to Imbert who took a jab at him, telling People’s National Movement supporters at a meeting in Barataria on Thursday that Bharath had “spent $30 million on dog rice.”
Bharath was the chief executive officer of the National Flour Mills (NFM) under the Basdeo Panday UNC government in 1997 when most of a shipment of rice from India failed to make it to this country.
He was subsequently fired by the chairman of the NFM Dr Anthony Elias who later resigned as result of pressure from the government.
The deal involved the purchase of 12,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Gangadas Shah and Sons Company-half of which arrived in our shores with the other half too spoilt to be used.
Bharath, however, fired back at Imbert, stating that his statement was a dead issue.
“Fortunately, no one takes Mr Imbert seriously which is really regrettable from a country’s perspective.”
He said it takes a great deal of wisdom and knowledge to realise your own level of ignorance.
“In my opinion, the reality is that everyone in this country with half a brain knows that the NFM matter was settled in my favour...both in the courts of the United Kingdom and in Trinidad and Tobago.”
NFM, Bharath said was forced to settled all his outstanding claims and legal fees.
“Clearly, he is digging up a non-issue that took place 25 years ago.”
With local government election around the corner, Bharath said the PNM will try to grasp at every straw.
Bharath said he found Imbert’s statement to be alarming “knowing that he presided over three years of economic failure and blamed everyone except himself.”