THE Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, is now “desperately trying to wiggle his way out of the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) baggage of guilt”, Minister of Trade, Investment and Communications Vasant Bharath has said.
In a press release issued yesterday, Bharath took Dr Rowley to task on comments made in a news report on Thursday, which quoted the Opposition Leader as saying he “acted decisively on UDeCOTT (Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago)”.
“The Prime Minister made it very clear that the Opposition Leader played a key role in the collapse of the PNM administration because of his silence and permissiveness, in the face of rampant corruption and because of his arrogance and refusal to listen and understand the concerns of citizens.”
Bharath went further to dismiss Dr Rowley’s claim that he acted “decisively on UDeCOTT”, saying instead he acted “spitefully”.
“Dr Rowley cannot expect to be taken seriously with such a disingenuous statement. It cannot take five years to be decisive on one very clear and obvious issue. He is on record as saying that although he found massive corruption in 2003, he remained in Cabinet, campaigned for the PNM in 2007, and it was only in 2008 after he was fired from the Cabinet that he spoke about rampant corruption. That’s acting selfishly and spitefully, not decisively.”
The minister stated: “The Prime Minister captured the character of Dr Rowley perfectly when she said that he chose to make political theatre out of corruption when he stood in Parliament in 2009 and berated his own leader (Patrick Manning) and his own former Cabinet colleagues for condoning corruption.
There was never a national interest, it was always about Dr Rowley’s interest, and for the Opposition Leader to now try to wiggle out of guilt because he believes the nation has forgotten is an indictment on his already poor leadership,” Bharath said.
He added: “The fact is that he withheld evidence of corruption for five years. This is indisputable. The fact is that he acted not decisively but spitefully because he was fired. The fact is that his leadership is weak and dubious, and he is struggling to free himself of the albatross of PNM’s baggage which he himself helped to create.”
‘These are facts and it is a history that cannot be rewritten, and his brazen attempt to do so makes it clear that Dr Keith Rowley simply cannot be trusted, and his word cannot be taken seriously.”