Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Motion of censure against AG

Rowley on Section 34 fiasco...


NEW STRATEGY: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley addresses supporters during the People's National Movement (PNM) public meeting at Five Rivers, Arouca, on Wednesday night. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

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A motion of censure will be moved against Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in the Parliament in an attempt to get answers on his involvement on the Section 34 fiasco, says Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

"For those who believe that the Attorney General has no question to answer, I am prepared to put the question that he had to answer on the Parliament record," said Rowley at a PNM public meeting at Five Rivers Junction, Arouca, on Wednesday night.

A motion of censure, unlike a motion of no confidence, does not have the power to have any member of the Parliament removed. It is an avenue by which a matter of concern against a member's conduct can be raised and debated in the Parliament and placed into the records.

Rowley explained that this motion would take precedence at the end of October when the Opposition has its Private Members day.

He said the Opposition would deal with its response to the national budget which will be delivered on Monday and then treat with the motion of censure against Ramlogan.

Rowley said he would be reading into the records of Parliament "every detail of the timeline" with respect to the proclamation of Section 34.

The Opposition Senate bench, he said, would also move a motion of censure and Rowley added that it would be "interesting" to hear what the Independent Senators have to say on the matter.

"And then if he (Ramlogan) is still there, we will let the Tobago House of Assembly move their vote of no confidence and listen to what Ashworth Jack has to say in Tobago about that," said Rowley.

Rowley argued that the move to secretly proclaim Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, 2011 was a conspiracy and the PNM would not be duped by anyone who wanted to cast blame on the Parliament.

Former justice minister Herbert Volney was fired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last week for misleading the Cabinet when he said that the Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions were consulted on the early proclamation of Section 34 when they were not.

Section 34 gave persons accused of indictable offences such as businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson the opportunity to apply to a judge for their matters to be thrown out once the matters were ten years old and the trials had not yet begun.

Rowley said if a person told a lie there must be a motive.

"We have not yet got an answer from the Prime Minister what was the motive for Volney's lying to the Cabinet," said Rowley.

"Reshmi's qualifications was a lie, Mary King's dismissal was a lie, the State of Emergency was a lie...how many lies to the people of Trinidad and Tobago have endure and how many apologies will you accept from a Government that has criminal intent?" asked Rowley.

Rowley called on the Integrity Commission to use its power to investigate persons whose conduct were in question.

"I want the Commission to go and look into the accounts of Royal Castle and see whether a cheque for $2.8 million was written to Ross Advertising on the 17th May, 2010. There was a general election on the 24th May, 2010, it has come to our intention that these very people who were fighting tooth and nail to escape their day in court, there were feeding millions of dollars into the UNC campaign," said Rowley.

He said one of the signatures on the cheque was that of Ferguson.

Rowley said that Ramlogan knew that there was a loophole in the law.

"There is enough evidence in the public domain that this Government engaged in a conspiracy which had the effect of allowing persons not to have their day in court and those persons happen to be interested parties and financiers of the ruling party," said Rowley.

Rowley said there was no place big enough for the AG to hide as he now stood naked and exposed.

Efforts to contact the AG yesterday proved futile as calls to his cellphone went straight to voicemail.