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Sunday 15 September 2019
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Moonilal to PM: Fire AG Al-Rawi

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday urged Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to fire Attorney-General Faris Al-Rawi as allegedly unfit for office due to photographs surfacing of Al-Rawi’s children firing guns at the Camp Cumuto Army Base.

Such an incident violated the law and meant the AG was culpable, either by an action or an omission to act to keep his children away from guns, alleged Moonilal. Saying two Government Ministers in their Budget speeches had earlier confirmed the children were Al-Rawi’s, Moonilal said Al-Rawi now has no moral authority to pronounce on criminal matters, and should be fired. He named the duo as Minister in the AG’s Office, Stuart Young, and Housing Minister, Randall Mitchell. Moonilal held an impromptu news briefing outside the parliamentary chamber where he gave reporters copies of a fourpage letter to Rowley calling for Al-Rawi’s head. Moonilal said Al-Rawi has not denied they are his children, and that their possession of guns violates several sections of the Firearms Act, all of which are offences of strict liability, that is, where a person’s intent is irrelevant once a guilty act is committed.

Accusing Al-Rawi of a most serious dereliction of duty, Moonilal claimed Al-Rawi was “unfit, incompetent and incapable” to be AG, and in the public interest should be relieved of his position. Moonilal said Al-Rawi’s alleged knowledge of the children’s possession of firearms, and his acquiescence and/or negligence of such, would constitute misbehaviour in public office, especially if Al-Rawi used his office as AG and membership of the National Security Council to gain access to the weapons. Saying the episode undermines the fight against gun violence in TT, Moonilal said,
“What kind of example is being sent to the public and more importantly the younger generation?” Moonilal’s letter said the alleged incident violates the Firearms Act. It violates section six which outlaws the possession of a firearm without a Firearm Users Licence, said the letter. That law also bans the transfer of a firearm to a non-holder of such a licence, including a person below the age of 25. Replying to reporters’ queries, Moonilal said he’d never ever heard of TT’s security services training civilians to use guns to defend themselves, when they are instead the subjects of State security protection.

Moonilal said the TT Defence Force cannot on its own suspend the country’s firearms laws. He was glad the Defence Force had convened a fact-finding meeting on the matter, saying they too were culpable in the affair. Moonilal said the children were innocently caught up in an episode for which Al-Rawi was likely culpable. He rejected the AG’s claim on Tuesday that he could not ascertain if his children had held guns at a “threat assessment” exercise at the army base because he was separated from them. “I don’t think a parent goes in a room, sends his underage children outside, and doesn’t know what is happening.”

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