Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley last night answered the nine questions which Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar raised on matters concerning the President and Police Service Commission – and he’s called on Persad-Bissessar to withdraw tomorrow’s motion to try to remove the President.
He did so at the People’s National Movement’s San Fernando meeting last night, urging Persad-Bissessar not to stain T&T’s reputation and record with the motion against the President. The motion will be debated in Parliament tomorrow (Thurs).
Replying to the nine questions which Persad-Bissessar raised on the PSC matter after he spoke on the issue last Saturday and the President spoke on Sunday, Rowley stated, “Tonight, I answer all nine and then say if we should remove the President.”
He listed the queries and replies:
1. When specifically did he inform the PSC he’d lost faith in the Police commissioner?
Sometime in the last year.
2. What caused his loss of faith in then Cop Gary Griffith?
His good judgment and understanding.
3. Did he only write the PSC chairman or all members?
He wrote the chairman and in effect felt the entire commission would be made aware of his position by the chair.
4. Did the Attorney General know of the letter or was he kept in the dark?
No minister in his Cabinet is ever in the dark.
5. Did the Cabinet try to undermine the process?
No action involved any undermining of anything. The only time the Cabinet got near this was when members got legal opinion by the National Security Council submitted to Cabinet, taken to Cabinet and advised the National Security Minister to advise the PSC of such counsel.
6. What other action against the Police Commissioner was taken?
Ask the PSC.
7. How many other interferences has the PM made in the last year since his letter to the PSC?
The interaction between the PM’s office, President and PSC is never interference when it is interfacing in the highest traditions.
8. Was confidential information about the PSC being shared between the PM and President?
He presumed conversations between the PM and President on any matter is confidential until any officer decides to make it otherwise. He noted a PSC member writing to the chairman and sending it also to a person who had sued the PSC.
On that point, Rowley added, “But you want to know what the President and I talk about – I not telling you.”
9. On possible derailing of the merit list from being sent to Parliament?
The President’s statement indicated the list was brought to President’s House and immediately withdrawn.
After replying, Rowley said he wanted to tell Persad-Bissessar that she was a colleague of his and even if she thought something had gone wrong, enough had been made available to her now and there was provision that if the mover of such a motion like hers was of a changed view, they could withdraw the motion.
“I’d like to ask the Opposition leader, based on what she knows now, notwithstanding your concern or malice before, don’t put our country through that (motion) – don’t put that on our country’s record, don’t stain our country – withdraw this motion,” the PM said
However, he also said the queries had been answered but “You think it will end there? We still have to go to the Parliament and hear the Opposition try to denigrate the President shamelessly.”
He said she couldn’t bring a motion of no confidence against him or the Government but in her misunderstanding and mischief, had brought one against the President. He said she didn’t resign in the Section 34 issue in the People’s Partnership’s tenure but was now the “standard-bearer of high value and want to remove the President?”
Rowley also said he was taking no advice from the Law Association, which yesterday issued a release over a newspaper report on remarks Rowley had made on a case. He said LATT’s voice was heard promoting “UNC foolishness” and questioned where their voice was on other matters.
Attorney General Faris-Al Rawi also said the LATT’s release lacked balance. He asked where LATT’s voice was when Persad-Bissessar and other UNC members had spoken on the Vincent Nelson court matter.