PROGRESSIVE Party political leader Nikolai Edwards yesterday declared there should be “no sympathy” for former public administration minister Marlene McDonald or any other politician accused of corruption.
Edwards made that declaration at a news conference at the Chancellor Hotel in St Ann’s.
While McDonald deserves her day in court and people could be concerned for her health, Edwards said her actions were “unforgivable.” He added the same applies for UNC members Anand Ramlogan SC, Gerald Ramdeen and Glen Ram who have also been accused of corruption. Edwards disagreed with the Prime Minister’s statement at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, that what was happening with McDonald was what should be happening when public officials were accused of corruption. He claimed Dr Rowley was trying to fool people by “taking the moral high ground.” Edwards recalled that Rowley had defended McDonald in the past when allegations were made against her.
He claimed certain PNM members were displaying “gang behaviour” by showing empathy towards McDonald and saying “we have your back.” Edwards wondered why the PNM did not discipline McDonald when allegations were first made against her. He said that was why people needed to reject the PNM and the UNC. Edwards praised Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard for action being taken against public officials with questions to answer.
Noting the Integrity Commission cleared McDonald of allegations made against her, Edwards demanded the commission’s findings be made public. He also claimed it raised questions about investigations the commission conducted about other people accused of corruption.
While people were used to seeing small fish being caught, Edwards said it was good to see the authorities going after the big fish. He also opined that if public procurement legislation was proclaimed, there would be no issue about criminal gang leaders allegedly receiving state contracts. Edwards praised Garvin Simonette for resigning as a government senator when his driving under the influence (DUI) charge in the US in 2014 was exposed by Opposition activists. Before resigning, Simonette also declined the appointment of public administration minister. Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West subsequently replaced McDonald in that post.
Edwards wondered why government senator Dr Lester Henry had not resigned from the Senate. Henry pleaded guilty to a DUI in September 2017. He was given a conditional discharge when he
when he appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates Court for sentencing last March.