“Don’t back back Prime Minister!”
That was the request from Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Monday night, as she claimed Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was changing his tune on whether his party had knowledge of the abuse in children’s homes highlighted in the 1997 Robert Sabga Report.
She also called on the T&T Police Service to probe an alleged “paedophile ring” in the People’s National Movement (PNM).
At last night’s UNC forum, Persad-Bissessar waded into Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on his statements last Sunday on Sabga report.
She alleged he’d “lied” to the Parliament that she and the United National Congress “hid” the report, but noted on Sunday he was “backing back.”
“So don’t back back Mr Rowley! He moves the goalposts each time,” she said, alleging he was “changing his talk now.”
She said the UNC received the report back then and it was in the public domain, there was a recent media reference to a Cabinet note on the report and noted ex-minister Manohar Ramsaran, “and you were in Cabinet for seven years.”
Persad-Bissessar further said PNM’s Camille Robinson-Regis had spoken of the Sabga report in 2002. She quoted what she said, adding, “And Robinson-Regis has been sitting in Government for seven years! She should tell her Prime Minister... she’s sitting next to you in Parliament!”
Calling on the TTPS to investigate an alleged “paedophile ring” in the PNM, Persad-Bissessar claimed Government “cannot continue protecting these disgusting people. These are the high-ranking elitists and opportunists who trample the grassroots members.”
She said if Rowley was so interested in protecting children, he should “name the big wigs” and the Police Commissioner should interview him.
Persad-Bissessar asked what was being done about the 2021 Judith Jones report on children’s homes and why former Children’s Authority director Nicola Harvery-Mitchell wasn’t interviewed.
She also raised queries on PNM MP Foster Cummings and yesterday’s media report of a transaction flagged by the Financial Investigations Unit involving companies Cummings was affiliated with.
“Rowley where are you? Faris, where are you..? Follow the money! Did the State provide lawyers for these matters....is the matter still pending?”
She also said if the TTPS Special Branch’s 2019 report on alleged activities is still live, Cummings should step down.
But Persad-Bissessar said the only one removed in the PNM was ex-MP Marlene McDonald, who had worked “so hard for the party.”
Persad-Bissessar also heaped scorn on Rowley’s plans for agriculture and oil refining with Guyana.
She said the motion against Rowley wasn’t allowed to be read in Parliament yesterday and was shut down. She also assured the UNC’s Natex elections are in keeping with its constitution.
The former prime minister said the elections will offer an opportunity not to divide but will make UNC stronger. She said nomination forms can be collected tomorrow and nominations close June 5.