Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young yesterday condemned an attempt by Opposition Senator Wade Mark to mislead the public about Rowley's contribution before the Parliament's Land and Physical Infrastructure Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Monday. Mark is a member of that JSC which is conducting an enquiry into the operations of the domestic seabridge. Young reminded reporters that Rowley presented documentary evidence to the JSC on Monday, including the Christian Mouttet report, to support his statements.
He said those documents included was a May 25 email and letter from Baja Ferries director general Oscar Ruano to suspended TT Inter-Island Transport CEO about the Cabo Star cargo vessel. Indicating that Baja Ferries was the original owner of the Cabo Star, Young said Grant's email address is clearly identified as "email@example.com." However Young said at Tuesday's sitting of the JSC, Mark claimed the email address which Rowley referred to was "firstname.lastname@example.org."
Young said this was an attempt by Mark to give Grant the opportunity to say, this "was not in fact his email. Indicating the email address Mark spoke of was a figment of his imagination, Young distributed copies of the email and letter to reporters. He declared, "The document speaks for itself." Young said Mark and the Opposition did not know, "we also have it forensically imaged from the server at the port authority of TT." He said Mark, like all other JSC members, had full access to the documentation which Rowley provided to the JSC to support his testimony.
Describing Mark's actions as "reprehensible," Rowley said he was disgusted but not surprised. He said if Parliament was not proroguing at midnight last night, Mark would have been sent to the Privileges Committee for his actions. Rowley said Mark's actions were similar to actions he took as Speaker of the House of Representatives when private motion was raised against former finance minister Larry Howai about Howai allegedly being involved in insider trading at First Citizens Bank.
Rowley reminded reporters he moved that motion and prosecuted that matter with documentary evidence. He said Mark then produced a letter which he claimed came from the Judiciary, that supported Howai's position. That letter was later confirmed as coming from Howai's attorney and not the Judiciary. Noting that Grant has serious questions to answer regarding the procurement of vessels for the seabridge, Rowley said he was horrified to see Mark, "deliberately misrepresent a key piece of information, to cast doubt on the presentation that I made in my enquiry."
He said Mark, deliberately provided an opportunity, "for a public officer, who has serious questions to answer" with "a loophole to say that is not my email." Saying it was unfortunate for Mark to use a JSC enquiry in this manner, Rowley said it showed that "smartmanism" knows no bounds in TT. Rowley said because the people of TT have been lied to repeatedly over the years, it is difficult for them to accept the truth when it is presented to them.
Notwithstanding Mark's actions, Rowley said he will not pre-judge the JSC's findings and awaits the report it will present to the Parliament. He reminded reporters that the Government also has members on that committee who will be involved in compiling that final report.