Rowley: I’ll take jail

“I prefer to be in jail in Golden Grove or Frederick Street (Port-of-Spain) than in Parliament with the criminals,” he said.

He was talking at a PNM rally at the Croisee, San Juan, on Thursday night.

Rowley quoted former Jamaica prime minister, the late Sir Alexander Bustamante, as saying a man has not visited his whole country until he has been to jail.

Justifying his no-confidence motion, he said, “I did this out of love of country, not out of love of office.” He said the motion had not been aimed at launching the PNM campaign for the local government election due later this year, as that campaign is already under plain sailing.

Rowley said with respect to asset/income declaration forms, the Integrity in Public Life Act says that once the police are investigating a matter, the Integrity Commission must stop investigating the matter. He said Government might try to misapply that provision to the email controversy to put the police to investigate and so exclude the Commission.

“If one of those emails is shown to be true, Trinidad and Tobago is in for a rough ride,” he said.

Rowley then argued that Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson is unsuitable to probe the emails arising in the recent no-confidence motion in the Lower House because Richardson is beholden to Government for employing him past his retirement date.

He quoted the Integrity in Public Life Act to say the Integrity Commission was legally empowered to investigate the matter, as he had urged in preference to the police.

Alleging that Richardson had not seemed to be on top of things when briefing him during the course of the alleged assassination plot against the Prime Minister (PM), Rowley said he had no confidence in him.

“Confidence is like love, either its there or it’s not,” he said. Rowley alleged no progress by Government’s probe into the plot, but on the contrary said the police had said it was a hoax, even as the PM’s house was being sandbagged in defence. The outcome of the affair, he said, was for two Ministers to get blue police lights on their vehicles and security, while his own security detail was removed. “Since December 2010, I have been providing my own security at my own cost,” he said.

Rowley urged listeners to ask people if they have confidence in the Police Service to do a proper job probing the emails, especially if supervised by Richardson.

He scoffed that the PM had asked to send him to the Privileges Committee, but even before any investigation has been done into the emails.

Justifying the Opposition walkout of the House in the debate, Rowley said if the PM had really wanted to answer the questions raised, she would not have allegedly manipulated the proceedings so as to speak last.

He said the debate had not been a loss, because he had put in Parliament an issue for which nothing had been done in the six months since he had reported it to former President George Maxwell Richards who had then sent it to the Integrity Commission.

Rowley also saw St Joseph MP Herbert Volney’s admission of failing as a High Court judge in the Brad Boyce case as being a worthwhile result of the debate as it furthered his aim of saving the career of Dr Hughvon Des Vignes, the pathologist in the case whose qualifications had been challenged by the then Justice Volney. He said his secrecy in presenting the emails to the House had let him see the (shocked) faces of Government Ministers “unprepared, unrehearsed.”


"Rowley: I’ll take jail"

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