Opposition sticks to its guns on claims about PM's townhouse

Wade Mark -
Wade Mark -

THE Opposition on Friday said it is not afraid of any lawsuit as it insists the Prime Minister has questions to answer regarding the declaration of a Tobago townhouse to the Integrity Commission.

The UNC had claimed earlier in the week that Dr Rowley had failed to make note of a townhouse that he purchased in 2019 along with his wife Sharon when making his integrity in public life declaration for that year.

At a media conference at the Opposition Leader’s office, Charles Street, Port of Spain on Friday, San Juan/ Barataria MP Saddam Hosein and Senator Wade Mark said their accusation was still valid even after the Dr Rowley produced a copy of his Integrity Commission form detailing all his declaration to the Commission.

Hours prior to the Opposition’s media conference, Rowley held his own media conference at the Prime Minister’s residence Blenheim, Tobago. There, he displayed his 2019 declaration to the Integrity Commission (filed in December 2020). The document included an entry for his townhouse at Inez Gate, Shirvan Road, Tobago.

Rowley said there are two forms to fill out for the declarations, form A which is confidential and stays with the commission and form B which is accessible to the public. He said the information in question was entered on form A. Rowley said he would be speaking to his attorneys on the best way forward regarding the claims made by the UNC.

Told of this on Friday, Mark responded: “The Prime Minister will not intimidate us, he will not bully us. The Prime Minister will not scare us. The Prime Minister can do whatever he wishes to do but I want to give the Prime Minister of this country the assurance he will not escape scrutiny, accountability and transparency from the United National Congress. We are going to call him to account.”

Mark said Rowley was free to sue if he wished but the Opposition would not be muzzled. Mark insisted that Rowley a lot of questions to answer and the UNC was not done with him.

Mark added that the issue might involve the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and when asked if the Opposition was going to make an official compliant to the FIU and the police, he advised that the country "stay tuned to Act 1, scene 2.”

Saddam Hosein -

Hosein said the PM saying he declared his assets on form A did not exclude him from criminal liability since the law mandated that both forms must be filled out. Form A must be completed in detail and form B with general information. He also dismissed claims that he had access to Rowley's confidential information.

Both Hosein and Mark insisted that the failure to declare the Tobago townhouse on form B constituted a breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act, which carries a $250,000 fine or a ten-year jail term.

The men also dismissed Rowley's claim that their interest in his Tobago townhouse was motivated by an intent to give the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) a political one-up against Rowley’s PNM in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on Monday.

While Hosein and Mark claimed that the relationship between Rowley and Tobago contractor Allan Warner raised questions, they said it should not stop Warner from receiving Government contracts. Mark, however, called on the Rowley to disclose all the contracts that Warner received from the State since he became Prime Minister and the details of each contract. He also questioned whether Rowley was a businessman and benefiting from sales from his farm, in which Mark claimed Warner was a partner.

Hosein claimed Warner was awarded a contract to pave a road at the Prime Minister’s Tobago residence for some $5.3 million, far above the $45,000 Rowley claimed at his media conference. He called for that too be clarified.


"Opposition sticks to its guns on claims about PM’s townhouse"

More in this section