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Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi addresses members of the media at yesterday’s press conference

Renuka Singh

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is taking Opposition Senator Wade Mark to task for statements made by Mark on the yet-to-be-proclaimed Procurement legislation.

Al-Rawi held a media conference yesterday at the Office of the Attorney General at Richmond Street to also call for more responsible reporting on the legislation.

“So far not a single writer has pointed out the truth,” Al-Rawi said.

He was referring to reports of interviews with Mark in daily newspapers which printed Mark’s comments about the bill without fact-checking and without qualification. In those reports, Mark said that the amendments to the Procurement Bill removed the oversight of the Office of Public Procurement (OPP), which Al-Rawi said is just not the case.

“Senator Mark, please be truthful…the Government can only do its part,” he said.

Al-Rawi said Mark’s statements about the bill were “ridiculous” as it related to the oversight of the OPP with regards to the disposal of public assets.

“In the public procurement law, the definition of public procurement includes assets. Public property is dealt with there,” he said.

Al-Rawi said Mark was also being “irresponsible.”

“It is therefore ridiculous and irresponsible of the elected opposition of this country to send forward spokesmen in the persons of Senator Mark and Rodney Charles who participated in that press conference,” he said.

“It is not lost upon me that not a single lawyer occupying the UNC benches would dare step forward and say these things,” Al-Rawi said.

He said that the Opposition left the argument to a “non-lawyer who comes up with hysterical arguments.”

“I wish to condemn in the most serious way Senator Mark’s statements and urge reporting to include fact-checking,” he said.

Directing comments to Mark, Al-Rawi said “respectfully, stop quoting fiction. Get on with the facts, and I am saying this cause the rest of the world is paying attention.”

With regards to Mark’s threat to withhold support for the bill, Al-Rawi said, “What’s new?”

“He has made a threat, obviously on behalf of Kamla Persad-Bissessar that they will be supporting no legislation. Senator Mark’s track record will show that he has not supported anything,” he said.

He also said that the Opposition did not contribute anything to the bill or its amendments even at the Joint Select Committee.

“The Government accepts that it will not have any support from the Opposition on anything,” he said.

Al-Rawi said that the Review Tribunal, one aspect of the bill that must be in place before it is proclaimed, has been staffed and is being headed by retired Justice Sebastien Ventour.