‘OUT OF PLACE’: Dr Keith Rowley
Rowley urges corporations: Take Govt to court
Ria Taitt Political Editor
Head to court!
This is the instruction Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley is giving to People’s National Movement (PNM) held corporations, in response to statements made by Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal that the central Government would seek to meet the needs of the people represented by PNM corporations, through the various State agencies because the PNM would provide poor representation.
“On every occasion that the central Government breaches the law and uses the central Government or State enterprises to enter the corporation to step upon any authority of the corporation, head for the courthouse immediately. That is an instruction that is being given tonight to the corporations that are under PNM control,” Rowley countered.
“I will tell Dr Moonilal tonight, and the Prime Minister and all of them, yuh farse and out of place!” the PNM leader thundered.
He was speaking at a public meeting in Mt Hope on Saturday night in support of the candidacy of Terrence Deyalsingh, the PNM’s choice for the St Joseph by-election.
“People in this country have a right under the Constitution to vote for who they want to vote for and...if yuh don’t like it, yuh could lump it. But to threaten them with authority from the Cabinet to misuse the laws in this country, you would meet the PNM. When you push us, we push and kick,” Rowley said.
Rowley also took issue with Pastor Winston Cuffie, whom he said had left the pulpit and entered the political arena “to chastise the PNM for pretending it won the local government elections”. “I want to tell Pastor Cuffie, ‘if you come into the political arena, I will come to the pulpit and make you account for Government’s money,” the PNM leader said.
Rowley expressed sympathy with the family at Maracas Valley who became victim to a bloody attack by bandits. Deyalsingh, also expressing his concern for the crime situation, called for the construction of the St Joseph Police Station and for the implementation of plans to establish a municipal police in the St Joseph area.
Deyalsingh said for those who contend that an MP in opposition cannot do anything, he wanted to point out that the PNM controlled the two corporations—San Juan/Laventille and Tunapuna/Piarco—which served the St Joseph constituency. He said he had not been “neutered or spayed” like the COP MPs. The former senator introduced his wife, Shema, whom he said was a very private person and was making her “reluctant” debut to the political platform on Saturday night. He said his two children were overseas but the PNM family “fills that hole in my heart”.
Deyalsingh criticised the mudslinging on the other platforms during the local government elections. “What was the significance of a goat on a platform?” he asked. He also lamented the “prosecution” of the Anna Deonarine car issue on the platform.
Stating that the other candidates did not hold a walkabout last Friday due to rain, he said “neither rain, snow nor sleet” would keep him from walking or serving the St Joseph constituency.
Rowley, who spoke after Deyalsingh, said during the campaign as the PNM sought to put young people on the platform, a young lady in the South who told him her employer had instructed her that if she wanted to keep her job, she had to remove yourself from political activity. “I want to tell that employer tonight, you know who you are. In this country under the Constitution every citizen is guaranteed the right of freedom of association...That means you are free to be Baptist, Hindu, PNM, ILP, to be nobody. Employers who are taking that position, we will identify you and take you to court,” Rowley said.
On the deadlock in Chaguanas, Rowley said the PNM would do what it always has done—“act and stand on principle”.
He said the PNM would put up a candidate for mayor and ask the corporation to vote for him. It is noteworthy he did not mention the position of deputy mayor. Rowley said: “It is up to the members of the corporation to vote for him and if they do, the people of Chaguanas would get a decent man, representing a decent political party. They don’t vote for him and the PNM goes off in the position that we have been in for the last three years...waiting our turn when we get the majority.”
Rowley said the party would stand by the proposals contained in its manifesto for reform in the various corporations. He said any administrative action or legislation brought by Government to facilitate the reforms, would be supported by the PNM. He noted however that the ruling party made no mention of what they planned to do in the area of local government “because their entire campaign was fighting Jack Warner”.
“And when they found out that Jack Warner didn’t win any corporation, they drink, they eat, they danced, they fall down, they rolled because they didn’t lose some corporations and some of them even embarrassed themselves,” he said.