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...Rowley: Govt has admitted its failure

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

The Attorney General has crossed all lines of decency with his ridiculous allegation. 

So said Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley as he responded yesterday to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s statement that the People’s National Movement (PNM) has told the criminal underworld to increase murders so that it can benefit politically from the worsening crime situation.

“It is an outrageous statement. The Attorney General is now accusing the PNM of criminal activity and of being in cahoots with criminals who we (the PNM) are organising to murder people so as to maintain the high murder rate so that we can win the next general election,” Rowley said. 

“How ridiculous!” he stated.

 Rowley said the Attorney General’s statements were an admission that crime was out of control and therefore Government was seeking to blame somebody.

 “They (the Government) are feeling helpless in what is now a hopeless situation and they have taken a decision to blame the Opposition,” the PNM leader said.

 He stressed that the facts showed that this Opposition had been the most cooperative (of all Oppositions) with the Government on more than one front. 

Rowley reiterated that the Government was directly responsible for the crime because it had dismantled the security apparatus placed by the previous administration for intelligence gathering.

 He added that having created a vacancy for police commissioner, Government was doing nothing to fill that vacancy because its favoured candidate, Surajdeen Persad, was currently not qualified for the job.

 Notwithstanding the denials of National Security Minister Gary Griffith, Rowley said Government was sending Persad for training in an effort to prepare him for the top post.

On Griffith’s statement that he is seeking a meeting with the opposition parties in relation to the drawing up of a National Security policy, Rowley said he would not “take part in that pappyshow of meeting Griffith”.

 Rowley said the Attorney General and Griffith, two of the “leading lights on the National Security Council”, disagreed on a major policy issue—the issue of soldiers in the fight against crime.

 “That points to a collapse of Government’s crime-fighting strategy,” he said.

Rowley noted that when the Opposition first asked to meet with the Prime Minister on crime, it was publicly rebuffed. He said the Opposition then met the Attorney General and submitted proposals. He said the bills which the Opposition was not supporting were those being pushed through by the Attorney General.

“There can be no improvement in the relationship between the Government and the Opposition because the Attorney General is part of the problem and not part of the solution. And, furthermore, given what the Government is saying and doing, including not putting in place a Joint Select Committee to oversee and monitor the  security system, we have no more time to waste with the Government.

 “The Government has admitted that it is failing, that it has no more ideas, and this latest allegation (from the Attorney General)  will not go unchallenged. What we need now is an election so that the population can elect a government which is prepared to do what has to be done and not telling the population nonsense about the Opposition preventing the Government from functioning.” 

Rowley said Government was not prepared to speak the truth.

He asked what happened to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the country was going to be removed from the criminal jurisdiction of the Privy Council.

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