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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Kamla

Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar yes­ter­day said the col­lapse of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion will re­main as a “’stain” in the coun­try’s his­to­ry, as she again raised the re­la­tion­ship of Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley to In­ez In­vest­ments and PSC mem­ber des­ig­nate Max­ine King.

Dur­ing the de­bate on the nom­i­na­tions last week, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Mooni­lal tried to raise the links in Par­lia­ment but was shut down by the Speak­er.

Speak­ing at the UNC’s Mon­day Night Fo­rum last night, Per­sad-Bisses­sar again al­leged that the prin­ci­pals of In­ez and Row­ley go way back. She al­so called on Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes to ex­plain the cri­te­ria for choos­ing King for the PSC.

“Our in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tions are un­der at­tack from this Row­ley dic­ta­tor­ship,” she said, adding that the Pres­i­dent was aid­ing in that at­tack.

“Two of the high­est of­fices in the land have se­ri­ous ques­tions.”

Per­sad-Bisses­sar re­it­er­at­ed in­for­ma­tion al­ready in the pub­lic do­main that a high-rank­ing Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in­ter­vened in the de­liv­ery of the mer­it list for Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice to the Pres­i­dent.

Last week, the Par­lia­ment met and de­bat­ed the five new nom­i­nees for the PSC and while the UNC raised sev­er­al ob­jec­tions to three of them — King, Max­in At­tong and Ian Ramd­hanie — the nom­i­na­tions were ac­cept­ed on the PNM’s votes.

How­ev­er, Per­sad-Bisses­sar said the coun­try must still know what caused the pre­vi­ous PSC’s col­lapse, adding she al­so want­ed to en­sure there was no bias in the new PSC.

“We do not want this present one to col­lapse as well. This is why the Op­po­si­tion was very spe­cif­ic to ask for the vet­ting of nom­i­nees,” she said.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said while in Op­po­si­tion un­der for­mer UNC leader Bas­deo Pan­day, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Patrick Man­ning called a meet­ing to fix the ris­ing crime rates.

“The think­ing then was that the Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er was a tooth­less bull­dog, he had no pow­er and there­fore some­thing had to be done,” she said.

She said back then the Prime Min­is­ter had ve­to pow­er over who­ev­er ap­point­ed to the CoP

“I was part of that team, I am very proud to say, where we tried to make some changes,” she said.

She said that names were sub­mit­ted to the Prime Min­is­ter to de­cide on the CoP and he could ve­to those sug­ges­tions but no one knew whose name was sub­mit­ted ex­cept the Prime Min­is­ter.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said they re­moved the ve­to and in­stead gave the PSC the job to send the names to the Pres­i­dent, who would then sends that list to Par­lia­ment for de­bate.

“So should there be mat­ters that are ques­tion­able, they can be raised and the pub­lic would know which names are sent for­ward, the pub­lic would know what are the con­cerns, that was the whole think­ing,” she said.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said now, the Op­po­si­tion has been stopped from even rais­ing ques­tions about the nom­i­nees.

“So what is the point? Do we just go read a re­sume and vote?” she asked.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said the PNM was fail­ing in all sec­tors of the coun­try.

“Every­thing is in sham­bles,” she said.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said crime and pover­ty were on the rise while busi­ness­es were suf­fer­ing from the pan­dem­ic and re­lat­ed shut­downs.

She said with bil­lions spent by the Gov­ern­ment over the past few years, there was noth­ing to show for it.

“They took it for their friends, for their fam­i­ly and for their fi­nanciers. They have no plans what­so­ev­er to grow the econ­o­my and to man­age the cost of liv­ing and the stan­dard of liv­ing in our coun­try,” she said.

BFIA Admin
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