'...Many more heads must roll'
"WE are not going to stand and settle for (Herbert) Volney's head, we want every head of the hydra ."
So said Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley as he yesterday expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's statement on the Section 34 controversy.
A hydra is a snake in Greek mythology with many heads.
On Thursday night following an extended Cabinet meeting, Persad-Bissessar told the nation that she had advised acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith to immediately revoke Volney's appointment as Justice Minister.
Persad-Bissessar said Volney had misled the Cabinet by assuring that the early proclamation of Section 34 had been agreed to by Chief Justice (CJ) Ivor Archie and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard.
In a televised national address, Persad-Bissessar apologised to the country, the President, the CJ and DPP and called Volney's actions a "serious misrepresentation."
At a press conference held yesterday at the Charles Street office of the Opposition Leader, Rowley described Persad-Bissessar's address as being full of "fluff and gobbledygook".
Rowley said Persad-Bissessar's statement failed to address a number of critical issues, including why the Cabinet approved the premature proclamation of Section 34 despite assurances given to the Parliament.
"The Prime Minister made a big to do (Thursday) night about firing Mr Volney for him misleading the Cabinet, what about firing the Cabinet for misleading the Parliament?" Rowley asked.
"Why is it important for the Prime Minister to take umbrage that one of her ministers misled the Cabinet if that is what it is. We as parliamentarians, what is our recourse when the executive misleads us, because that is what her Cabinet did under her guidance and encouragement. So it cannot be good for Volney to be fired for misleading the Cabinet but for the Prime Minister to remain unscathed," he said.
Rowley yesterday said Persad-Bissessar had questions to answer to her role in the "outrage".
Persad-Bissessar is "guilty of dereliction of duty" for not addressing the Parliament during the emergency session to repeal Section 34, Rowley said.
He also slammed Persad-Bissessar for clearing Attorney General Anand Ramlogan of any culpability in the Section 34 fiasco.
Rowley said he was informed by Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi that there was a discussion among Independent Senator Elton Prescott, Ramlogan and Al-Rawi behind the Senate president's seat on the effect of Section 34 on the Piarco Airport criminal matters.
Al-Rawi yesterday confirmed that litigation in general as well as the Piarco matters were in fact discussed among the three men.
Rowley also said Ramlogan's actions in other matters involving businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson have to also be scrutinised.
"We have to look back to see how far back this plot was hatched. Nothing the Prime Minister said yesterday exonerates the Cabinet," Rowley said.
The blame for the Section 34 scandal lies squarely in the office of the Prime Minister and at the feet of the Attorney General, Rowley said.
"They knew, there were too many things that happened so well," Rowley said. —JJ