THE Prime Minister queried Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s commitment to bipartisan talks on covid19 based on her alleged undermining of other initiatives of the Government including his recent thrust into Ghana.
Asked on Monday, at a post-Cabinet media conference, of her offer to discuss the global pandemic, he lamented the Opposition’s objection to extra time for his speech on covid19 last Friday in the House of Representatives.
“Is it the same Opposition Leader? On Friday I tried to speak to you, the population, about this same issue and the Opposition Leader led her crew to vote against the Prime Minister talking to the country in this emergency. Is that the same one who is writing me now?”
Rowley added, “I am not prepared to take part in any political grandstanding. Right now, I have a serious headache. I am prepared to work with any and everybody in this country who is prepared to act in the interest of the people of TT. So, I don’t want you to separate the Opposition Leader from the rest of the country.” He said he was opening his arms to the rest of the country.
“We are in this together. Let’s work with it together and we are going to come out of it together whatever it is.
“In the case of the Opposition Leader who makes a career out of irresponsibility and undermining this country’s effort at every turn, if she is prepared now to be responsible and to work with the Government and people of TT, then I say we’re making some progress.”
Rowley accused Persad-Bissessar of playing games in her invitation.
“I have no time for games. I have serious business to do for the people of TT.”
He said the Opposition has a role but seemed to be underminers.
Rowley alleged Persad-Bissessar, as former PM, had shut a door to invest in Ghana, which he had tried to re-open on his recent visit, but said this could be undermined by her recent statements in the Ghanaian media. “Suppose she wins the next election?”
In an earlier statement, he came close to accusing her of treason. Saying his 50 years in public life were to improve the interest of all people in TT, Rowley said he was shocked and disappointed at Persad-Bissessar for telling Ghanaians to ignore him – undermining investment plans his visit had earmarked for urgent action.
He said TT intellectuals like George Padmore, CLR James and Eric Williams had worked for independence in Ghana which in 2010 was eager to work with TT in areas such as oil and gas production. Rowley accused the Persad-Bissessar government of then showing a cold shoulder to a Ghanaian presidential emissary, such that today the $1 billion Takoradi gas processing business and Ghana Gas has no TT investment input.
He said his attendance at celebrations Kumasi, Ghana, had removed uncertainty, so both countries could accelerate a time table to explore investment options in gas processing and transmission to both of their great economic benefit. The flow of documentation and deadline dates had been set at the highest level in both countries, he recalled.
“It is against this announcement that our Opposition Leader, last week, got herself published in Ghanaian media calling on them to ignore the initiatives of TT in its desperate quest to expand its economy in energy and finance.
“There was a time when treason was a capital offence but there is no law against persistent undermining of one’s country but there must be condemnation of this damaging conduct.”
Rowley accused the UNC of a “pattern of behaviour” to put narrow, expected political benefit above the national interest at home and abroad.
He said the UNC had done similar over the Manning government’s quest to buy offshore patrol vessels to secure TT from drug and arms traffickers, plus attempts to set up Tamana Intech Park to diversify the economy, and to buy two ferries and two patrol vessels from Australia over which UNC had tried to instigate the Australian opposition.
“What should be of great concern to all the decent right thinking citizens of TT is whether there is no limit beneath which some persons not sink in their quest for political power even if it means destroying the wider national interest.”