Friday, December 15, 2017

...AG slams her too

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has condemned what he calls the "vindictive, vicious and vile attack" against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar by former social development minister Verna St Rose Greaves.

Ramlogan is the latest member of the People's Partnership Government to endorse the leadership of Persad-Bissessar, saying: "I have no doubt her leadership will emerge stronger and better in the face of this unwarranted and unjustified malicious personal attack."

In a statement yesterday, the AG, who is currently in China with a Trinidad and Tobago parliamentary delegation, described St Rose Greaves' public claims that the PM was not in charge of the Government, and suggestions that she may have a substance abuse problem, as "spiteful".

"That this assault on the character of the Prime Minister was launched months after she (St. Rose Greaves) was fired from the Cabinet underscores the revengeful and spiteful nature of it.

"Why did Verna remain silent about these imaginary problems when she was comfortably ensconced as a member of the Cabinet at the behest of the Prime Minister?" asked Ramlogan.

"Why did she not resign and go public then? Could it be because the Prime Minister stood beside her in the face of intense criticism over her handling of the disastrous Cheryl Miller affair?"

He said there was no truth to the defamatory allegations about the Prime Minister's personal life and "she is certainly not the subject of blackmail by any Government Minister".

According to Ramlogan, Persad-Bissessar leads with a firm hand but compassionate heart without fear or favour to anyone in the Cabinet, adding that she had the courage to fire several ministers for reasons that may include non-performance and under-performance.

The AG pointed to the fact that he has worked with the PM both in opposition and government in several capacities, and also in cases where she provided excellent legal advice as an attorney.

He pointed to her 25 years of dedicated public service and 16-hour work days, describing her as "a strong, competent and visionary leader, with a deep commitment to the betterment of Trinidad and Tobago".

Claiming that similar attacks were made against Persad-Bissessar by male politicians during the internal elections of the United National Congress, Ramlogan said: "It is a sad day when a woman who once championed the cause of women in politics can join the bandwagon of men who took cheap potshots at the first female PM.

"This kind of gutter politics that relies on personal vilification is a strategy that failed then and it shall fail now because it is based on rumour and lies."

He said unlike other national male leaders, the country's first female Prime Minister has been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny and her personal life has been under intense scrutiny as many search for faults.

"The public microscope has focused on the cost of her private residence, her relationship with her sister, her clothes and even her shoes. None of the male national leaders who preceded her were subjected to this kind of rigorous scrutiny. Indeed, the media and activists kept a respectful distance away from their personal lives," said Ramlogan.

And the UNC youth arm also dismissed St Rose Greaves' claims as "false, malicious and of no value" and exemplifying "a prime example of political mischief and propaganda".

In response, St Rose Greaves said: "It is unfortunate that they chose to take what I said as an attack on the Prime Minister. I pray and hope that the Prime Minister, her sister and her husband take the message how it was intended to be."

When asked to clarify how that statement was intended, she did not elaborate.