Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kamla slams Rowley's call to 'BFF' Baksh

Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Was Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley guilty of misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice when he phoned his friend Hanif Nazim Baksh, owner of A&V Oil and Gas Ltd when the fake oil scandal broke?

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked this question last night at United National Congress (UNC) public meeting at the Union Presbyterian School, Pointe-a-Pierre.

Persad-Bissessar also questioned whether Petrotrin's equipment is on the compound of A&V Oil and Gas and whether there is any link to the Petrotrin equipment that went missing from a Tabaquite field.

The former prime minister further called on Petrotrin to explain why former PNM election candidate Vidya Deokiesingh was transferred as a hospitality officer to a custody transfer specialist at the company.

She noted that the fake oil scandal took place whilst Deokiesingh was in the transferred position.

Persad-Bissessar said "all hell broke loose" after she unearthed the fake oil scandal and there has been one bacchanal after another.

She noted one of these bacchanals was the Prime Minister's admission that Baksh is his friend.

Rowley's video clip of his admission to this was played to the audience. The Prime Minister had said at the Post Cabinet news conference last week that Baksh is his friend and when he read of the fake oil report in the media he called him (Baksh) to enquire and Baksh denied the allegations.

Persad-Bissessar noted that Rowley did not call Energy Minister Franklin Khan but he called his "bff" and "bestie" Baksh.

"He did not call his new Chair and Board of Petrotrin, nor did he call the President of Petrotrin. He called his BFF! His bestie...what did he expect his friend to say? Did he expect his friend to say, well Keithos they ketch me?" she said.

She said of greater concern is "what did the PM say to his BFF?"

"This phone call to his buddy raises some serious questions. The question arises as to whether the PM may be guilty of misconduct and misbehaviour in public office," she said.

"The question arises as to whether the PM may be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice," she added.

Persad-Bissessar noted that the Prime Minister is head of the National Security Council. She also pointed out that he is also head of the Cabinet that appointed the Petrotrin Board.

Persad-Bissessar went on to note a photograph of equipment at A&V Oil and Gas compound which was published in the Newsday newspaper.

"Does this equipment belong to Petrotrin and if it does what is it doing on that compound?" she asked.

She said she was told that there was equipment like this at the Tabaquite field which was farmed out and that equipment went missing. She also pointed out that Petrotrin's equipment is in black and red the same as the equipment in the photograph as she repeated the question.

Persad-Bissessar went on to condemn the thuggery against the media as she noted that media personnel from the Guardian, TV6 and Newsday faced attacks while covering the fake oil story.

"We totally condemn these brutal, vicious attacks against media personnel," she said.

She asked whether the perpetrators felt emboldened that they can do this because they have a "friend in high office".

Persad-Bissessar questioned whether the police officer involved in the attack against the media is related to a Government Senator.

Persad-Bissessar lamented that this is the kind of thuggery the country has reached under the "red and ready" regime where "gestapo style" brute force is used against those who speak out.