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Rowley: Govt a bystander in US$100m drug bust

By Ria Taitt

 Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley will meet the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) on last month’s oil spills later this week.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Rowley said he had informed the union he would meet with it either tomorrow  or Friday. 

Rowley said the People’s National Movement (PNM) believed the board of Petrotrin, the management and the Cabinet had some element of culpability in the oil spills.

 This, he said, was due to the fact that highly-qualified personnel were driven out of their jobs, dismissed summarily or were frustrated and were replaced by persons of dubious qualifications and wholly political appointees.

 Rowley said both the union and the PNM had been complaining over the past three years that persons were getting their jobs at Petrotrin and other State companies on the basis of the connection to the political directorate and not on the basis of superior skills.

 “We want to know if that policy” had to do with the oil spills, he said.

Rowley reiterated his call for a comprehensive investigation into the causes of the oil spills.

 He slammed the Prime Minister for her decision not to meet with the OWTU on the major environmental damage to the country.

On the issue of the US$100 million drug bust, Rowley said the gag order placed on Cabinet  members on the issue was laughable. He said the Government was trying to give the impression that it had some role in the seizure when it was just a “bystander” in the matter.

 “The Government has no information to share, so talking about a gag is laughable. We are now taking credit for other people’s work,” he said, in reference to the suggestions that this country provided information that contributed to the cocaine seizure in Norfolk, USA.

Rowley said after promising the population during the general election campaign that it would deal with crime within 120 days, the Prime Minister was now telling the nation that “plan X is prayers”.

 He said while he prays everyday and only “yesterday” (Sunday) the PNM had a service with standing room only, the country needed functioning agencies so that it would not be as attractive for drugs and crime as it currently is and minimise the country’s exposure to the drug trade.

 “We cannot create our own evil and throw it on God’s lap,” he said.

 Rowley said it was this Government which “unceremoniously dumped” all the Scotland Yard consultants, dumped all the training efforts and the trained locals.

 Meanwhile, Rowley said, an officer whom the Prime Minister approached to get information of a “political favour” about the security personnel, was rewarded with a secret promotion at the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) and was being “mollycoddled” for the Commissioner of Police job”.

On the issue of the Beetham confrontation, Rowley said law and order must prevail and the country cannothave persons determining where, when and how law enforcement is to be carried out.

He said it was equally important that officers treat with the national community within the same context of law and order. 

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