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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Moonilal: Privileges call an act of desperation

Roodal Moonilal
Roodal Moonilal

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal says Government’s referring him to the parliamentary Privileges Committee yesterday, over allegations he made against the Prime Minister regarding an account in Miami and the A&V Drilling fake oil scandal, was an act of desperation. He was speaking with the media during the sitting of the House of Representatives yesterday.

He said there was no Privileges Committee in this session, as one has not been named. He also spoke on why he had not called Rowley’s name in Parliament sooner.

“The reason why I was always hesitant to call the name was not because I was scared or I wasn’t sure of the information.

It’s because it was not a substantive motion on the individual so you can raise an issue, but you ought not to be calling the name of the person. It is only when invited on several occasions by the Attorney General I therefore read his name, and not call it. “So the reluctance to name Dr Rowley had nothing to do with the integrity of the matter or whether you believe the matter to be true or false; it had to do strictly that in a budget debate it is not a substantive motion on anyone and one ought not to...be using that as if it was a substantive debate.”

Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George has reserved to a later date her ruling on whether the matter will be referred to the Privileges Committee, and Moonilal said he would not prejudice that.

“If it is that we go to the Privileges Committee, so be it.

“But I find it shocking that an hour ago the Prime Minister had a press conference and called on three agencies – the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General and the FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit).

How can we go to the Privileges Committee on this matter and there’s no completed investigation? What you are saying is you don’t care whether it’s true or not, you want to persecute...the MP for Oropouche East.”

“I think it is a serious act of desperation of behalf of the Government.” Moonilal said similarly with the Emailgate issue, a matter could not be taken to the Privileges Committee because it was the subject of an investigation, and it only went when the Integrity Commission had ruled on it.

Yesterday Dr Rowley made a statement in the House denying the existence of the alleged Miami account. After he was finished, Moonilal rose on Standing Order 23 on the issue of right of reply.

Annisette-George stood and had to repeat, “Honourable member,” while Moonilal remained on his feet.

“Sit down!” Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds shouted.

Annisette-George said, “Member for Laventille West, please contain yourself.”

She then told Moonilal Standing Order 23 does not allow any right of reply and was very different from statements by ministers.

Moonilal repeated that May’s Parliamentary Practice allowed for right of reply but Annisette-George said she had ruled and it did not allow what he was seeking to do.

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