Thursday 23 November, 2017

Kamla: Rowley's action on A&V could be "misbehaviour" in public office

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley may be guilty of misbehaviour in public office due to his friendship with A&V Oil and Gas Ltd CEO Hanif Baksh.

Speaking at the United National Congress (UNC) Monday night forum last night, Persad-Bissessar criticised Rowley for seeking an explanation from Baksh following the allegations that his company defrauded state-owned Petrotrin out of millions of dollars for oil it did not produce.

At last Thursday's post-Cabinet media conference, Rowley admitted that Baksh was a close friend of his and that he had called him to question him about the allegations.

Rowley said Baksh had denied any wrongdoing.

Persad-Bissessar, however, said Rowley's phone call to his "pal" could be seen as an attempt to influence the outcome of the investigations, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

She said Rowley failed to contact line Minister Franklyn Khan or Petrotrin officials but instead made his first call to Baksh.

"Did he expect his friend to say 'oh gosh boy Keithos, yuh ketch meh?'", Persad-Bissessar questioned.

She further condemned the attacks on media workers covering the story and said the perpetrators perhaps felt emboldened because they have a friend in high office.

Also speaking at the forum, Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne said there has been a disturbing trend of attacks against media workers in recent days.

He said he too was a victim as police, accompanied by the riot squad, raided his studios yesterday evening in search of a document relevant to a police investigation.

Alleyne, however, said the police had a "fake" warrant and attempted to gain access to his control room.

"It is an attack not just on the media, it is an attack on the people of Trinidad and Tobago," he said.

"It is a clear indication that we have reached just like Venezuela. We have no voice."

Persad-Bissessar, however, said the Opposition would not be silenced or intimidated.

"You could jump high you could jump low, you could say this you could say that, once you thief we will expose you. We will not be intimidated," she said.