The Opposition, acting through Sen Faris Al Rawi, has written House Speaker Wade Mark requesting a copy of the video surveillance of the Parliament recorded last Friday to “view and establish what actually transpired outside the precincts of the Parliament”.
Al Rawi’s letter stated the request comes in the face of allegations from Sport Minister Anil Roberts that he was accosted, grabbed, spat upon and pushed by People’s National Movement (PNM) supporters wearing red t-shirts, who gathered in protest outside the Parliament that afternoon.
Al Rawi said the Opposition was also requesting copies of the reports of the Police, relative to the events which transpired outside the Parliament’s precincts on that day. The Opposition also wants copies of Roberts’ contributions in the House of Representatives in which he spoke of being accosted, “so that the issue of whether Mr Roberts wilfully misled the Parliament may be interrogated against the evidence arising out of the said video surveillance and Police reports”.
The letter, dated April 1, 2014 noted that Roberts made statements to the local media outside the precincts of Parliament and also made statement in the House of Representatives to the effect that he was “assaulted, battered, spat upon, humiliated, insulted” and “was hindered in the discharge of his duties as a member of Parliament” as a result of the alleged actions of the persons wearing the red t-shirts.
Al Rawi’s letter also pointed out that Roberts attributed the said injury he allegedly suffered to Opposition Leader, Keith Rowley, who is Political Leader of the PNM and MP for Diego Martin West. It added that Roberts said he was brought to and/or nearly brought to tears by the alleged action of the persons whom he described as hooligans.
“Mr Roberts’ said allegations are very serious allegations rooted in potential breaches of the privileges enjoyed by all members of Parliament,” Al Rawi noted.
The letter noted that Rowley through interviews with the media had “strenuously refuted” Roberts’ said allegations and has denied “the very spurious and reckless express and implied allegations...that he (Dr Rowley) directed and/or presided over the abuse allegedly suffered by Mr Roberts. The letter noted that Rowley pointed out that Roberts “chose to wilfully ignore the access arrangements made by the staff and security forces of the Parliament and to instead push his way through the crowd of persons wearing red t-shirts who had gathered outside the Parliament” last Friday.