Moonilal: PNM privatising justice

Dr Roodal Moonilal.
Dr Roodal Moonilal.

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal on Wednesday accused the Government of seeking to privatise justice in order to prosecute its political opponents.

He alleged that while this is happening, the police continue to be starved of the funds they need to acquire resources to fight crime.

Speaking in the budget debate in the House of Representatives, Moonilal said the Cabinet had approved $66 million for British law firm Edmonds Marshall McMahon and PricewaterhouseCoopers to do investigations.

He also said the Prime Minister approved this expenditure before Cabinet approved it.

Saying he knew what the government speakers after him would say, Moonilal declared, "I am no cocoa farmer. I have no cocoa in the sun."

Nothing is wrong, he said, with an independent police service and independent Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recruiting, managing and paying foreign professionals to help in investigations.

But Moonilal added, "You know what is wrong? It's when a politician pays money for a private prosecution of their political opponents."

He claimed that six people from the United Kingdom were made special reserve police officers (SRPs) and were paid $15 million from the police budget.

"We have in this country, super SRPs being paid $1 million per month, while ordinary police (officers) cannot get ink and paper."

He claimed the Opposition was told that "the foreign, UK-based SRPs, six of them, indicated in writing to the Office of the DPP that their priority is former ministers of the People's Partnership (PP)."

Describing this as scandalous, Moonilal quipped, "Who pays the pounds call the rounds."

He alleged that before the August 10 general election there were "leaks from that special white-collar mongoose gang" to the press about possible charges coming against former PP officials.

"We have the evidence here. Tell us it's not true."

While that was happening, Moonilal said the police's budget was cut by $181 million.

"They will not be able to maintain vehicles, they will not be able to buy vehicles. There will be no (new) uniforms."

He scoffed at plans to reintroduce the police marine division: "They got enough money to buy a raft. No boat for the police."

He recalled that while an extensive closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera system was established in 2009, when TT hosted the Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, 900 of those 3,000 cameras are not working. Moonilal claimed that a private company, not the police, has operational command of this system.

He slammed National Security Minister Stuart Young for not doing enough to ensure that TT nationals stranded overseas because of the covid19 pandemic were able to come home. Moonilal said he recently met a British MP who spoke on behalf of TT nationals in the UK who could not return home.

"It is a shame and disgrace when a foreign parliamentarian must raise their voice to defend Trinidadians."

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