THE PRIME Minister says Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is spreading a “grand conspiracy” that former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and former senator Gerald Ramdeen were arrested because of the upcoming elections and this was intended as a defence for them in court.
He was speaking yesterday at the post-Cabinet media conference held at the Diplomatic Centre, Port of Spain.
He said, at a public meeting at Sangre Grande Persad-Bissessar linked the Privy Council ruling on the Malcolm Jones Freedom of Information case to a grand conspiracy as part of a defence for corruption-related charges Ramlogan and Ramdeen are facing before the court.
“In TT, the government – the Prime Minister, the minister– we cannot lock up anybody in this country. Locking up in this country is done by the police and, if it’s for a criminal matter it is under the watchful eye of the DPP. That’s how it’s done. So it is quite wrong, it is quite absurd for the Leader of the Opposition, finding herself with responsibility for the people that she appointed and defended who are now before the court, to seek to engage in the worst form of witness-tampering. (She is) trying to sell to the population a conspiracy theory that somebody in the government, and this Rowley government, conspired from way back in Malcolm Jones’ lifetime, to this request for information that was hidden and now Ramlogan and Ramdeen in front of the court and it is a conspiracy to do with the elections that are pending.”
He said the UNC PRO Anita Haynes, faced with the embrassement of party members being hauled before the court for serious criminal misconduct, was saying it was an election-style matter and during elections “the PNM locks up people.”
He added, Persad-Bissessar named people the PNM allegedly “locked up,” namely former prime minister Basdeo Panday and former ministers Finbar Ganga and Dr Tim Gopeesingh. He said Panday and Ganga were involved in Integrity Commission matters while Panday was prime minister and under a UNC government respectively, while Gopeesingh got into trouble with police during the UNC stint while he was chairman of the North West Regional Health Authority.
“All of this was one gargantuan lie to bolster a conspiracy, and all of it is to try to create an argument in the court so Ramdeen and Ramlogan can argue that their difficulty is a result of political intervention which is a pattern in this country of which they are now the victims.”
He also said the UNC issued a statement that Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation chairman Glen Ram recently being detained on a bribery charge was because of elections and Rowley’s government interfering with people’s rights and “getting locked up left, right and centre.”
“We are not a country where you get locked up on the say-so of the government of the day. We are not a banana republic.”