Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rowley unaware of supporters accosting Roberts


PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley greets supporters upon his arrival for yesterday’s sitting of the Lower House.

Mark Fraser

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said he was unaware that any of the supporters of his party who were outside of the Parliament yesterday had accosted Sport Minister Anil Roberts as he made his way to the House of Representatives sitting.

“I would hope PNM members would have conducted themselves decently outside. I have no such report that the Minister was accosted outside,” Rowley said.

Dr Rowley made the comment while speaking with reporters during the tea-break of yesterday’s Lower House sitting as Sports Minister Anil Roberts had earlier claimed he was accosted by members of the PNM as he made his way through their section of the barricaded area for protestors.

“I came in there were people in yellow, people in red. The ones in yellow jeered me, the ones in red cheered me and there was a barrier. So I don’t know how he got into the crowd cause I walked in a completely open space, completely unperturbed by what was going on around me and if I went close the barrier I was protected and there were a lot of police officers there,” Rowley said.

He said he had no report of any MP being accosted as he said it’s “an offence to accost a Member of Parliament on the way to Parliament.”

“And I would not stand for that, I would not tolerate that,” Rowley said.

He then described the measures he saw that were put in place by the Parliament police who were supported by members of the Police Service’s Guard & Emergency Branch.

“What I did see was proper arrangements made by the Police for Members of Parliament to access the Parliament without interaction with the crowd,” Rowley said.

He also said that the crowd of PNM supporters who stood next to a crowd of UNC supporters outside the barricades were not protesters.

“This wasn’t a protest. As a matter of fact, when I spoke about this matter when I think it was in St Joseph, I said that I will be expecting maybe 200 people to symbolically show up in the Parliament. This wasn’t a major march or anything like that,” Rowley said.

He said he was “surprised” at how many PNM supporters showed up. See Pages 4 and 7.