Friday 6 December, 2019

Al-Rawi defends family training as Moonilal calls for investigation over photos

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said his family received training under direct supervision of the army.

Responding to an insinuation from Opposition member Roodal Moonilal that his children were the ones in a photo showing two teens with high profile weapons, Al-Rawi told the media that the training was a matter of security.

Speaking to the media, Al-Rawi said upon becoming AG in September 2015, a threat assessment was conducted and the security agencies instructed that it was imperative that the international protocols for training how people are exposed to threats  had to be delivered by the security forces to him and his family.

"These are international protocols and upon the instructions of the army, in particular, my family was taken up to the Cumuto base where instructions as to threats against our persons and circumstances were provided. The protocols were very carefully directed under the supervision of the army. At all the points in time, the went through what threats look like, what panic can cause in the middle of a threat which is against our life, how aggressors behave, how the persons who provide personal security in these situations behave and what is to be expected," he said.

The AG did not confirm that the children in the photos were his, stating that he did not see the photograph. He, however, lashed out at Moonilal, stating that he holds him in rigorous contempt of morality for dragging family members, particularly children, into a conversation for political mileage. 

Following his revelation in Parliament on Tuesday, Moonilal is calling on the Commissioner of Police to investigate whether there was a breach of the Firearms Act Chapter 16:01with respect to the use of a firearm without the requisite license.

In a release, he said the Police investigation must also determine whether the people photographed are over age 25, as strictly mandated by the law.

"The Firearms Act legislates a fine of $75,000 or imprisonment of eight years for anyone on a summary conviction of selling or transferring a firearm or ammunition to someone without a Firearm Users’ License. The penalty is 15 years imprisonment for indictable conviction. The law also stipulates a fine of $40,000 and imprisonment of 10 years to anyone who sells or transfers a firearm or ammunition to someone under age 25. The Commissioner of Police must take a similar interest in this matter as he would if there are pictures of youths of the Beetham, Laventille, Morvant, Debe, Enterprise or Barrackpore posing with arms and ammunition," he said.

Moonilal is also calling on Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to conduct a separate inquiry to determine whether any member of his Cabinet breached the morality in public affairs which he espoused in his party’s general election manifesto and during public campaigning.

"The PNM’s election manifesto, which is now national policy, sets standards of conduct for parliamentarians on matters of integrity, honesty, accountability, leadership, and openness. At the launch of the manifesto, on August 15, 2015, Dr. Rowley publicly stated that parliamentarians must adhere to a code of ethics, and with failure to do so “Parliament will evict that person.” Dr. Rowley must take suitable action if any member of his Cabinet is found to have breached any national laws or conducted himself in an inappropriate manner," he said.

He is also calling on the Children’s Authority to take an interest in this matter. 


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