PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley promised a Parliamentary debate and an inquiry by a joint select committee (JSC) into alleged interference in this country’s 2010 general election by Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data firm suspected of election manipulation in the United States, Caribbean and Africa. He was speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
He sought to link that firm to intense personal attacks made against him previously.
“Trinidad and Tobago has been used as a base for extended apparent criminal conduct around the world,” he said, and evidence being collected abroad suggested that individuals in TT’s political arena, and possibly in a government of TT, had worked with foreigners to access information – private, personal and protected by law, on TT citizens.
He said such an invasion of citizens’ privacy, where all of their personal interaction with the Internet, some embarrassing, became raw material for the conduct of an election campaign in TT.
“If that is confirmed, as witnesses are confirming abroad, we in Trinidad and Tobago need to pay attention as to what laws, if any, were broken in Trinidad and Tobago, and who did what, when, where and how, and to what extent taxpayers’ resources were used in this shenanigan.”
Rowley said people like himself, who had been in politics, now have a window onto this issue which he described as “frightening.”
“I recall as Opposition Leader coming under tremendous personal attacks which only became clearer to me as the infractions and criminal conduct of Cambridge Analytica became available on international television, and their role in Trinidad and Tobago became admitted.”
Rowley said the Government is in touch with external entities by mutual legal assistance treaties.
He also said, “It is the intention of the Government to bring this matter for Parliamentary debate and ventilation at the earliest opportunity. This matter will also form the basis of a thorough investigation by the JSC of the Parliament chaired by Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, the National Security JSC, where persons both local and foreign can and will be summoned to explain their involvement in this scandal.”