A UNC pavement meeting in St Julien Village, Princes Town, last Friday night provided a stomping ground for opposition critics to deepen their attacks against the government for alleged corruption including the arrest and recent charges brought against former minister and PNM deputy political leader Marlene McDonald.
The fodder from which speakers drew ranged from whether the Prime Minister was using his government phone to conduct private business, to seeking to implicate the Prime Minister in the AV Drilling matter.
East Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal who led the UNC attack against Rowley, questioned who was the ‘official’ informant that gave the Prime Minister the information on Sunday night at 10.30 pm that McDonald was going to be charged.
Moonilal said, “It is critical for the Prime Minister to name the secret source who officially informs him of impending charges since this is not the business of the National Security Council (NCS), and even more suspicious is that fact that the PM says he received the information on WhatsApp on somebody else’s phone late Sunday night (the night McDonald was taken in by police.”
Moonilal then questioned whose phone the PM is using for government business. Moonilal also criticised the PM over his claims that he did not know McDonald was to be charged but knows of impending charges against UNC members.
Moonilal explained that having served for five years on the NSC, the NSC and its chairman, the Prime Minister, is a policy and resource making body and is not authorised to receive information on who is to be charged, when and for what offences.
“The taxpayers pay the phone bill for the PM mobile, as other ministers,” Moonilal said. “Why is the PM using a private person phone to receive information?” He also wanted to find out whose mobile phone does the PM have access to.
Moonilal said he took umbrage to Rowley at the latest “post-cabinet press buffing” telling reporters that he “allow them to come to the diplomatic centre”.
“I want to tell Rowley that the diplomatic centre is not Landate ( a private housing development project in Tobago to which the UNC sought to implicate Dr Rowley several years ago). It is the peoples’ space, built by tax-payers’ dollars and not a private scandalous housing project.”
Moonilal told his audience that the PM has still not disclosed what business he had with AV Drilling. The PM has questions to answer, Moonilal said.
Responding to Rowley’s recent statement that those calling for elections feared more charges and wanted to get back into office to prevent more arrest Moonilal said “This was a continuation of a failed strategy to paint the UNC and former ministers as corrupt while half of Rowley cabinet is before the police”.
Rowley he said is afraid of early elections because he knows the UNC will hold on to the AV drilling fake oil 100m scandal “by our teeth and never let go until some people are held accountable”
“This is what they are afraid of, so much so that they close down the whole of Petrotrin, sent home 6,000 workers to bury fake oil and save friends and high PNM officials,” Moonilal said.
Moonilal noted that as soon as the PNM came in office they dropped the Malcolm Jones matter and now they are scared to lose office in mortal fear that an incoming UNC government will pick up the AV Drilling pieces and put the puzzle together including foreign bank wire transfers for which records cannot be erased.