FORMER Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said the Opposition will not allow the prime minister to extricate himself from the cancelled US$72 million housing project between the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and a Chinese company.
Moonilal said he has taken note of Dr Rowley's statement that this issue was irrelevant and just an administrative one if indeed he (Rowley) held the housing portfolio at the time the contract was signed.
Addressing a pre-budget meeting in his Oropouche East constituency on Tuesday night, Moonilal said he has put his lawyers on notice, because if this applies to Rowley then it should also apply to him.
“The Prime Minister’s latest attack on our intelligence deserves special focus. In the aftermath of the unravelling scandal involving the Housing Development Corporation’s (HDC) sweetheart deal with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company Ltd (CGGC) whereby the national interest was gambled away, if not sold away, the Prime Minister says that it matters not that he was the Housing Minister at the time."
He referred to civil action taken by government against him in connection with work done by the EMBDC, while he held the portfolio as Housing Minister. “I want to remind him that he (Rowley) was trying to jail me. So what? I was a minister too. The government took civil action against me for alleged wrongdoing by a company which was in my ministry.
“So that law don’t apply to me,” he asked the audience which included Senator Tarhaqa Obika, Chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy and businessman Shiva Roopnarine. “I was minister, but I had nothing to do with that. He is the PM and now he wants to extricate himself from what happened in the HDC
“In this sordid affair, we are told that it is not the Cabinet to blame, it is not the minister to blame, it is not the HDC chairman to blame, it is not the board to blame, but other invisible, faceless and nebulous office holders.
“Having had the good fortune of being the longest serving Minister of Housing in this country’s history, I now ask who should we blame - the car park attendant at the HDC car park? Who do you blame for a half of a billion contract, the biggest contract in our history. This went down under Keith Rowley and he must take the blame squarely and surely.
“We will not allow him to escape blame and responsibility," Moonilal vowed.