Movement for Social Justice leader David Abdulah says that neither Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, nor her United National Congress, can extricate themselves from the political repercussions caused by the charges brought against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC and UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.
Speaking at the MSJ’s head office in St Joseph Village, San Fernando on Sunday, Abdulah said it was not a matter of Ramlogan and Ramdeen’s innocence or guilt, but that Persad-Bissesar attempted to distance herself from the predicament.
Following the arrests of Ramlogan and Ramdeen on Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar was asked if they represented an indictment of her government. Her response was: “Not at all. I always remember something that my former leader told me. He said Jesus Christ had 12 disciples and at the end of the day, almost all of them betrayed him."
But Abdulah recalled that during a political rally of the People’s Partnership on the eve of the general election in 2010, he warned Persad-Bissessar against appointing Ramlogan as the attorney general, but she defended him. Again in 2012 with the passing of the controversial Administration of Justice Act (Indictable Proceedings), known famously as Section 34, he said Persad-Bissessar fired then justice minister Herbert Volney for misleading the Parliament. He said Ramlogan was equally culpable and a cogent case was made for his dismissal. Ramlogan was eventually fired from the Cabinet in 2015 after charges of witness tampering were brought against him.
“We are not now passing judgement on Mr Ramlogan. What we are saying is that Mr Ramlogan was the choice of Mrs Persad-Bissessar for attorney general, even against the particular advice I gave her. She will deny it, I’m sure. That is her right…She stood by her attorney general through thick and thin over Section 34 and all the allegations and 'town say' talk that was going around during his period as attorney general.
"Therefore, she cannot, today, extricate herself from Mr Ramlogan and whatever may happen to him later on. I’m not suggesting that he is guilty of anything…I am speaking in political terms,” Abdulah said.
He said that Persad-Bissessar also had no clear position on how she deals with MPs and Senators who are accused of crimes. She has not removed Ramdeen as an Opposition senator. Abdulah recalled that when former junior national security minister Colin Partap was charged for refusing a breathalyzer test, she dismissed him from that position even before that matter was brought to the court. However, he said she was reluctant to remove Ramlogan when a witness tampering accusation was made against him.
He said this contradicted the position taken by the UNC in 2017 when government senator Dr Lester Henry was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The UNC called for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to remove Henry from the Upper House.
He said that traditional UNC supporters are concerned with the arrests of two prominent members, while there are PNM supporters who are unhappy with Rowley. Saying that both parties were not suited to govern the country, he said the MSJ is the only option.