Ramesh slams PP
By LEISELLE MARAJ Monday, June 25 2012
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Former UNC attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj speaks yesterday to Clico policyholders at Plaza de Montrose in Chaguanas....
FORMER UNC attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj yesterday slammed the People’s Partnership (PP) Government for failing to keep its manifesto promises to be transparent, accountable and corruption free.
“It was bad under Manning...very bad. But what is happening under this administration makes what Manning did look like a tea party,” Maharaj told members of the United Policyholders Group at a meeting held yesterday at the Plaza de Montrose in Chaguanas.
He said the PP Government, in its election manifesto, recognised the importance of being corruption-free, open, transparent and accountable and the promotion of the highest standard of conduct in public life through honesty and integrity.
“The sad thing about this is that with the exception of (David) Abdulah, no one in the government has been prepared to stand up for the principles of the manifesto or their election contract with the people to stand up and kill the cancer that is eating away the soul of the nation,” he said.
Maharaj said under this government there has been a deterioration in the standard of conduct in public life as it seems it is not based in truth and morality. “The public perception is that there is a belief in Government that the treasury belongs to it and not the people. That nothing is wrong for government to have conflicts of interest in the execution of the duties of government and that there is nothing wrong in having political patronage or nepotism in the procurement processes of the state.”
He pointed to millions spent by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and government ministers in international travel, including travel expenses of the Prime Minister’s sister.
He claimed that $9 million was spent on government’s second-year anniversary rally and millions more are being spent to pay for attorneys and public relations.
“It would seem to me that it is a form of official corruption for a government to spend millions of dollars in legal fees, millions in public relations exercises but refuse to pay policyholders,” he said.
He pointed to the latest Transparency International Report on Corruption as the basis for his claim that the public perceives there in an increase in corruption. He spoke of violations in procurement processes, where, “naked political patronage has been obscene”.
“In a multiracial society as this, it has been provocative, dangerous and even inciting. Whether you are getting or not under this government, it will still affect you and you will suffer the consequences of it. Do not feel this is ‘we time’ now. It is COP time and UNC time. You must not get into that feeling because what is happening in Trinidad and Tobago affects all of us,” he said.
Saying while he has no intention of returning to politics, the Government should not take his silence for the past two years lightly.
“I want to serve notice that for the next three years, we will be looking and examining the policies of this government which affect the rights of the people. I will be there standing up and fighting for the rights of the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.