OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal called Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley a “badjohn” after the PM told him to meet on the pavement.
The banter began yesterday in Parliament as Rowley was fielding questions about the State funding the medical expenses of Public Administration Minister Maxie Cuffie.
After responding to the initial question, giving terse responses to two supplemental questions and a longer answer to a third Moonilal asked whether the People’s National Movement would assist Cuffie rather than the taxpayers. Rowley remained in his seat and said he did not want to answer, but House Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George pressed Rowley to stand and respond thrice.
Rowley responded: “Madame Speaker, if my colleague from Oropouche East want to talk about party elites I will meet him outside on the pavement.” The Opposition bench murmured in surprise and desks were thumped. Later during the general question session Moonilal directed a question “To the badjohn” and then corrected himself to the honourable Prime Minister. Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh said across the floor “It have a lot of badjohn on that side.”
The Speaker ordered Moonilal to properly withdraw his comment and Moonilal acceded. Also yesterday Rowley was also questioned whether all Muslim groups had been invited to a recent meeting that was held. He responded that he would not be so bold to say he knew all Muslim groups in the country but he tried to speak to as many as possible on the responsible side of the Muslim community. He said virtually all those invited made it their business to attend and they had a very successful meeting.
He explained the purpose of the meeting was to deal with dissatisfaction and misinformation that was being peddled regarding security service picked up people who were of interest to the police. He said people encouraged citizens to behave as though this happened specifically because of their religious persuasion.
“I took this upon myself as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago to address that issue immediately so that persons could be given the assurance that no person in Trinidad and Tobago is being persecuted or will be persecuted because of their religious persuasion. But to also give the assurance that our national law enforcement and security agencies will not shy away from enforcing the law of Trinidad and Tobago against any citizen as a result of that person’s religion, ethnic(ity) or otherwise.”