A screen grab of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley showing his Integrity Commission Form A during a media conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Tobago yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says his Tobago townhouse is fully declared and legal action is being examined against United National Congress MP Saddam Hosein for suggesting otherwise.

Rowley yesterday displayed his Integrity Commission Form A where he declared the purchase of his Inez Gate townhouse to the commission.

“And I’ve passed this matter to my lawyer to determine whether I’ve been slandered by UNC MP Saddam Hosein,” Rowley said during a media briefing called to address Hosein’s recent claims that he (PM) hadn’t declared the property to the commission and had broken integrity law.

“I have no questions to answer and in the event the commission has questions for me, I stand ready to co-operate on any questions. But there’s no question they can ask me I can’t answer—none!” Rowley said from Tobago, where he’d gone following his return from Barbados’s celebration of becoming a republic.

He trashed Hosein’s claims that when the UNC checked the commission last week, there was no declaration for Rowley’s $1.2 million property bought from Tobago businessman Allan Warner.

On Thursday, Hosein filed a complaint with the commission seeking an investigation of whether Rowley breached Integrity law.

“Investigate what?” Rowley asked, dismissing the allegations as part of the UNC’s election time “playbook” of character assassination. He deemed Hosein’s claims part of UNC’s bid to assist the Progressive Democratic Patriots, the PNM’s rivals for Monday’s THA election. He noted the AV Drilling issue as part of a similar tactic the UNC used before, where also he’d sued the UNC’s Roodal Moonilal.

Rowley said the UNC’s latest “brazen attempt” was meant to imply criminal conduct on the part of a Tobago-born Prime Minister and assassinate his character. He said the UNC sought to score election week political points in a “…deliberate strategy to mislead and manipulate the population.”

He queried why attorney Hosein, the UNC’s shadow Attorney General, didn’t know the Integrity format when he, as an MP, also had to fill out such forms.

Rowley said the minute anyone says they’d found out from the commission what one’s declaration is, it should raise alarm bells since the Integrity in Public Life Act requires two forms to be filled out—but one is secret and confidential and unavailable for public viewing.

He said Form A details “your life story” from credit cards and accounts to cars and property, but Form A is a secret document and commission staff have to swear an oath of secrecy with severe penalties for breach.

Rowley said Form B was the one that the public is allowed to see. While details of one’s business aren’t required on this, it can state if one is given a gift or wherever one is in conflict. He said, for example, being in Government, his Form B stated his shares in FCB, Plipdeco and NEL. He said his Form B—which is the only form the public can see—will never contain his bank account and property he owns. Form A, however, which has sensitive information, is secret.

“So how (Hosein) saying UNC checked and discovered I bought a property I’m ‘hiding’…and since Basdeo Panday was charged I should be charged! But Panday’s issue and mine is two different things!”

Holding up a form, Rowley added, “This is a copy of my 2019 Form A Integrity In Public Life Act submission.”

He said it was filed on December 28, 2020. He said there is a deadline but extensions can be requested and are usually obtained.

With respect to his declaration for 2020, that was filed on Monday as he’d sought an extension. And “…lo and behold, on Monday night (UNC) was attacking my 2019 submission.”

He said the form’s Page 9 regarding all properties owned by him and his wife and one shared by his children, involved six properties. The first was Goodwood Park (1985) and the most recent, the Shirvan Inez Development.

“Date of acquisition—February 22, 2019. Original cost—$1.2 million. Estimated value at December 2019—$1.2 million.”

Berating Hosein for lies and mischief Rowley showed signed cheques and documents on the purchase, saying his wife is very meticulous.

“This is a public document yet the UNC would have you believe this property passed from Allan Warner to me and I have to hide it!”

Savings used for townhouse

PM Dr Keith Rowley says the source of funds for the purchase of his Tobago townhouse was his and his wife’s savings and they were among the first purchasers when drawings were available and approved. He said his wife had been working for umpteen decades and is about to retire and he’d never been unemployed since university.

“I’ve never been to whore houses, drink alcohol and drunk, I’m minding one family. I never bought cigarettes—so the only way they try to scandalise me is this (allegation)!”

He said he complied with the law, paid a purchase price the vendor agreed on and negotiated no “discount.”

Rowley noted units on a neighbouring complex also sold for $1.2 million. He said real estate purchase is rooted in negotiation—people offered price and if sellers didn’t always get what they wanted, they might return to you.

“This situation where UNC ‘analysed’ I get a half-million ‘benefit’ is absolute foolishness!”

Rowley said he didn’t hide that Allan Warner was his business partner. He said Warner was a partner regarding a Tobago farm that started in 2008, when Rowley was a PNM backbencher. He said he loves the exercise and his blood pressure drops when he’s on the farm and he exports to T&T.

Rowley also said the PM’s Tobago residence was built by Parks and to his knowledge, Warner’s firm only paved the driveway.