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Monday 23 October 2017
Politics

Kamla tells PM: forget labels, take action on ‘fake oil’ now

Kamlaake tells PM: forget labels, take action on ‘fake oil’ now

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to forget about "jammetry", stop dithering on the serious allegations of fraud at Petrotrin and take immediate action. Responding to comments made by Rowley at Thursday's post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's, Persad-Bissessar said Rowley chose to cast aspersions on her and the Opposition, to defect attention away from the gravity of the allegations

She said Rowley cannot shrug off the preliminary audit findings which allege Petrotrin has been defrauded of more than $80 million. Persad-Bissessar insisted, "This matter reaches far beyond Petrotrin and is serious enough to warrant the attention of the DPP, Commissioner of Police and Integrity Commission." Noting that Rowley identified A&V Drilling and Workover Limited owner Nazim Baksh as his friend, Persad-Bissessar was alarmed that Rowley called Baksh after the alleged findings of the preliminary report were publicised.

While Rowley said the matter had nothing to do with him, Persad-Bissessar asked, " By speaking with the person who runs the company accused of a crime, whose interest is Rowley seeking?"

Persad-Bissessar said as Prime Minister, Rowley’s sole interest should be in seeking the national interest, ensuring any stolen monies are recovered, and those found to have been engaged in wrongdoing held accountable. She reiterated her call for the dismissal of Energy Minister Franklin Khan, drawing comparisons to Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan and the procurement of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 vessels for the domestic seabridge.

On Thursday, Rowley said Persad-Bissessar knew there were proper procedures to investigate these matters. He also said by her own actions, Persad-Bissessar could prevent herself and the country learning the truth about this issue. The Opposition was expected to pose more questions on this matter to Rowley later in the day in the House of Representatives, during Prime Minister's Question Period.

United National Congress (UNC) Women's Arm chairman Dr Catherine Ali claimed Rowley engaged in name calling to demean Persad-Bissessar. She said the Gender and Child Affairs Division in the Office of the Prime Minister should condemn Rowley's statement. Lee said Rowley showed he is not fit for public office. He claimed "jammetry" is a term that is synonymous to many of Rowley's actions such as when dpcuments purported to be emails were brought to Parliament. Police investigations into the email scandal are ongoing. Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh described Rowley's statement as "crass and vulgar." Gopeesingh agreed with the positions taken by Persad-Bissessar, Ali and Lee.

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