United National Congress MP Roodal Moonilal is batting for Progressive Democratic Patriots leader Watson Duke.
Moonilal has called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to say whether or not Rowley was aware that a high political figure had sought to influence the T&T Police Service’s Firearms unit to“ take away” Duke’s licensed firearm.
Speaking at the party’s Virtual Forum, Moonilal said he had information that “... a high political official from Tobago” had sought to use their influence by “pressuring and intimidating the Police Service” to seize Duke’s firearm in light of pending charges at the magistrate’s court.
Moonilal's claim came as campaigning for the December 6 Tobago House of Assembly polls heated up. The UNC is not contesting but the PDP, People's National Movement and three other parties are. Rowley, at a PNM Tobago Council meeting last Saturday, alluded to the rape charge Duke is currently facing before the courts.
Last night, Moonilal said Rowley had tried to “disarm” Duke on the platform with those comments. He queried if efforts had also been on to disarm Duke physically.
Moonilal also wanted Rowley to explain whether he had knowledge of any high Government official who sought to influence the process for distribution of firearm licenses - particularly to seek to obtain a license for a specialised weapon for killing pigs.
He said the request for a license was turned down. He also queried if someone in Tobago had wanted a license to sell guns and this was rejected. Moonilal asked if Government had wanted ex-Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith gone because he “refused to break the law.”
Moonilal also dismissed Rowley’s concerns in his letter to former Police Service Commission chair Bliss Seepersad about Griffith. He was referring to a letter which Rowley wrote to Seepersad on September 16, 2020, after the PM and Griffith were involved in a public spat over the breach of COVID-19 health protocols during a pool party at Bayside Towers in Cocorite.
The Oropouche East MP also called on TTPS to say if the Police Complaints Authority has sent a list of police officers they recommended to be suspended from duty as a result of ongoing investigations into misbehaviour in office, corruption and other serious offences investigated by the PCA, which may warrant suspension of police officers immediately.
“It’s my understanding the PCA submitted a list of police officers to be suspended but they cannot be because there’s no Police Commissioner in place at this time, so that persons who are allegedly rogue cops, dirty cops and corrupt police officers are now on duty as a result of the implosion of the Police Service Commission and the interference of the political directorate into the appointment of a new commissioner," Moonilal added.
“This is untenable. It’s not in the interest of security to have police officers with such serious accusations attending to duties. The PSC must act swiftly to submit the existing (CoP) merit list to the President so it can be transmitted to Parliament and a decision can be taken on a CoP.’’