ATTORNEY General Anand Ramlogan says he feels vindicated by the statement of former prime minister Patrick Manning on the Section 34 scandal.
In a release issued on Tuesday, Manning, the Member of Parliament for San Fernando East, said he would have gone against the People's National Movement (PNM) on the issue of Section 34 if he had been in Parliament when the vote was taken.
"My position would have been completely different from the rest of the Parliament, including my own party colleagues. They said, 'Yes.' I would have said, 'No,'" Manning stated.
"I think Mr Manning's statement was very timely and it also vindicates what I have been saying in this matter," Ramlogan said yesterday after the swearing in ceremony of Justice Minister Christlyn Moore at Knowsley Building, Queen's Park West in Port of Spain.
"I have been saying from day one this was a collective parliamentary oversight and when the unintended consequences of the passage of section 34 became evident in light of the conversation the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) had with me we moved expeditiously to convene the parliament on the instruction of the Prime Minister to repeal it," Ramlogan said.
Ramlogan said Manning's statement has also raised doubt about Dr Keith Rowley's leadership ability.
"What Mr Manning has said really throws doubt and raises questions about the leadership of the PNM in the parliament and the leadership of Dr Rowley. What he has said as a former prime minister and political leader of the PNM is 'I would not have voted for Section 34'. The question now is why did you vote for it, Dr Rowley," Ramlogan said.
Ramlogan said he expected Rowley to address Manning's statement at the PNM's political meeting held at Five Rivers Junction last night.
Ramlogan said he would expect Rowley to explain why he voted for Section 34.
"His former political leader and prime minister of the country is clearly indicating that look the correct thing to do would have been to simply not vote for it but if you vote for it you consciously and deliberately support this measure which however you twist it and turn it at the end of the day ultimately was designed to introduce a limitation period of ten years on criminal prosecutions," Ramlogan said.
"The upshot of what Mr Manning has said and the inescapable and irresistible inference is that Dr Rowley and the PNM representatives in both the Senate and the House of Representatives erred in their judgment when they supported section 34 and he has hit the nail on the head because if they did not vote for section 34 there would have been nothing to proclaim," he said.
Ramlogan said although several independent senators voted against section 34 being repealed he would not be "casting any aspersions or going to ascribe any political conspiracy between any defendants and independent senators".
"I think they voted in their good conscience in the best public interest but that of course would be a question for them to answer but I am certainly very happy with Mr Manning's timely intervention to indicate that the PNM cannot point fingers at anyone because Dr Rowley led the vote in the parliament that gave birth to Section 34 without which there would have been nothing to proclaim," Ramlogan said.
Rowley had given Persad-Bissessar up to yesterday to fire Ramlogan for the section 34 scandal but the deadline passed without a word from the PM. Rowley meanwhile said yesterday that he would have addressed the issue last night at the People's National Movement's public meeting in Five Rivers, Arouca.