PM: Moonilal fighting for political survival

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. -
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. -

THE PRIME Minister said that in bringing a motion of censure brought against the Speaker, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal was fighting for his political survival.

He was responding to the motion, which originated on April 27 when Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George declined Moonilal's attempt to move a definite matter of urgent public importance on the alleged sale of fuel to Venezuela by Paria Trading.

In the House on Friday, Moonilal said Annisette-George did not recuse herself despite her husband being chairman of Paria.

Dr Rowley said it was a strange debate, a futile motion, and a waste of the Parliament's valuable time.

"The member has a problem. He is fighting for his political survival. As all politicians do. He has to find a way to swim in swift currents and not be washed away."

He added: "It is disreputable and a waste of our valuable time to raise his profile wherever they (the UNC) screen themselves."

He said that there must be a level that people will not sink to in desperation for a political entity.

Rowley also said the Speaker, as by her authority, adjudicated on whether a motion was acceptable, she ruled the content and nature did not qualify, and therefore there was no business before the House. He said if the motion had qualified, then in that motion someone could point to a conflict.

"He is saying the reason the motion didn't qualify is because the Speaker did not want it. Because of a family-member pumpkinvination (sic)."

Rowley claimed that members of this House created the fuel sale story and this was then picked up by Reuters and a newspaper in the midwest US.

"Since then they milking it like a cow."

He said it has been demonstrated beyond repudiation that the fuel-sale allegation has no basis in fact, with Paria showing it was not so via irrefutable evidence in the public domain, and government members demonstrating to the world that Paria did not trade to Venezuela, but the documents went to Aruba.

"Nobody has been able to demonstrate an iota of evidence that what Paria said in their defence is not true."

He asked rhetorically, if there was no basis and the motion was not approved, then what did the Speaker have to recuse herself from?

Rowley said the Opposition has a propensity for "nastiness and untruths" and the motion was "devoid of facts and loaded with malice and nastiness."

He claimed that all members of the Opposition needed to be seen as they are, "the B-team.

"Every one of them rejected (by the UNC screening). The only one guaranteed to return is Pointe-a-Pierre (MP David Lee)."

Moonilal shot back that the People's National Movement put up 43 candidates to fight 41 seats.

Rowley said that while Moonilal made a big case about recusing oneself when there is a conflict, he was the same member who sat on a committee where the Commissioner of Police gave testimony about his conduct and his association with people being monitored for criminal conduct in a hotel in Port of Spain. He recalled that when Moonilal was asked to remove himself he flatly refused, and a committee had to be convened to expel him.

Rowley said Moonilal either did not know about conflict or was downright hypocritical.

On Moonilal's allegations that money was not accounted for by Paria, Rowley said that Paria is a trading company and buys and sells products in the country's interest.

"To implicate and nasty the name of a company is typical UNC nastiness. That is totally uncalled-for and unnecessary. Why are you so hell-bent to label the company, officers and the Parliament as breaking sanctions?"

Naparima MP Rodney Charles stood on standing order 48:1 and reiterated that the Opposition never asked for sanctions.

On Moonilal's claim the use of the "announcements" item on the order paper by the Speaker to rebuke him was unprecedented, Rowley said both former speaker Barendra Sinanan and former senate president Emmanuel Carter had done so.

He said the Speaker has done an outstanding job for the people of this country.

"The Speaker is an exemplar. Every parent can point to every girl child and say 'I want you to be like Bridgid Annisette-George'."

In the vote on the motion all 17 government members voted against and all 14 opposition members voted for. The motion was not carried.

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"PM: Moonilal fighting for political survival"

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