ACCUSING Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of lying to the nation, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday challenged him to engage in a public debate with her.
"If yuh name man, I am going to take you on manos y manos, in a public debate on all the issues you raised in the power-point. One on one, I will engage you. Be man, come forward and I will take you on on all of those lies, every distortion I will show you what we did, how we delivered in any spear of lives in TT," Persad-Bissessar said.
She spoke at a press conference at the office of MP for Couva South Ramona Ramdial in response to Rowley's first installment on Sunday night, of a pre-recorded, two-part series of discussions on national issues at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain. Part two was aired last night on television
Persad-Bissessar said the Opposition UNC was "concerned about the direction of the country" under Rowley. She labelled his televised address on Sunday as "political comedy central".
"I was very distressed to see the PM behaving like a crybaby, lamenting his own incompetence of failing to deliver in TT. And that not being enough, resorting to what he has been doing repeatedly, which is the blame game — blame the Opposition," she said.
She accused Rowley of "telling lies with statistics" saying the numbers presented in his Sunday night address were distorted. Rowley used graphs during his "Mind Your Business: A Report to the Nation" broadcast on Sunday to support his claim that the UNC oversaw the wastage of $29b. Persad-Bissessar was unimpressed.
"We did not leave the Treasury empty. The PM says we wasted $29 billion. I don’t know how he arrived at $29 billion. Yes, we spent money for the benefit of the citizens. In five years, we spent $290 billion. This Government in three years has spent $160 billion," Persad-Bissessar said.
Of last night's second installment, Persad-Bissessar said: "I expect another one-hour rant of comedy central part two."
She assured that the UNC is preparing for the local and general elections constitutionally due this year and next year respectively. However, she dismissed reports that the UNC had already selected candidates for the elections referring to claims as mischief.
"No advice has been sought for caucus members nor has any advice been received from caucus members and no decision have been taken. We have no candidates selected or deselected," she said. Asked if the origins of the allegation were from within the UNC, she said she would not speculate.