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Wednesday 13 November 2019
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Moonilal knocks Rowley for locking up Seepaul

GOVERNMENT Chief Whip yesterday urged the nation to remember the victims of crime, as he launched an attack on the Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for his record of supporting a state of emergency in 1995 called to deal with former Speaker Occah Seepaul.

“We have not heard the view of the families of crime victims,” Moonilal said during debate of a motion to extend the state of emergency. “Of mothers who had to bury their children. Today we act on their behalf and behalf of all citizens in Trinidad and Tobago who desire to live in peace.”

Of the 1995 Occah Seepaul impasse which saw then PNM Prime Minister Patrick Manning call for a state of emergency, Moonilal said back then the PNM gave no reasons to the Parliament for its actions.

“To lock up one woman under house arrest you had to call a state of emergency,” Moonilal said.

“A little lady on Mary Street, St Clair, who had to drink coconut water for five days. The Speaker was under house arrest and did not have food supplies.”

Quoting from Hansard, he said Rowley, the then Diego Martin West MP, defended that state of emergency and famously argued, “If the Speaker knew she had no food at home then she should have behaved herself.”

“This is the member for Diego Martin West speaking in support of the pre-emptive action to lock up Occah Seepaul,” Moonilal said. “And today they come and tell a tale for 14 hours non-stop. What was the reason for that state of emergency? What was the reason? What was the reason when you had the Speaker woman locked up?”

Rowley fired back by noting that the events of August 1995 were peculiar.

“The history would show that in Trinidad and Tobago at that time there was a Speaker at that time who set about to reduce the Government majority by suspending members,” he said. In relation to the current state of emergency, he once more asked the Government: “What is the specific threat? That is what we have been asking for the last two days.”

Moonilal responded. “I think we now have to talk in Hindi. We have told you there was this drug seizure, gang violence, deaths and a bloodbath expected. What more? How much more should die?”


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