Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Moonilal: Rowley must accept blame for Marlene's arrest

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal speaks at the UNC Pavement Report on August 8, 2019 in Barataria.

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal speaks at the UNC Pavement Report on August 8, 2019 in Barataria.

With three strikes against Public Administration Minister Marlene McDonald, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley must accept blame for her recent arrest.

The latest strike against McDonald came on Thursday when she was arrested along with her common-law husband on allegations of corruption.

Speaking at the United National Congress’ (UNC) Pavement Report in Barataria on Thursday, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said poor judgement on the part of the Prime Minister led to the latest development with McDonald.

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He said Rowley had serious questions to answer and ought not to feel that he can come out smelling like a rose, given that McDonald was fired as a Minister on two previous occasions under his administration.

“It is his lack of wisdom, judgement and political wisdom that has led to this disturbing day.

The person in question was appointed once, fired once, appointed twice, fired twice, appointed three times and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

The Opposition MP said these developments speak to a Prime Minister that is incompetent.

He called on the Prime Minister to make a statement on the matter, especially given his publicly stated stance on “thieves” running the country.

Moonilal also suggested that there may be more to come in this matter, as he said “there is an unpleasant and disgusting stench emanating from the Rowley government of which this may be a part.”

However, the Oropouche West MP said McDonald’s arrest brought him no joy and called on those present at the political meeting to refrain from criticising her.

“Why we must not find happiness is that this may well be a small piece in a bigger puzzle.

There may be a more diabolical plan afoot, of which today is just one small piece and they may be up to no good, and up to a diabolical plan that may or may not involve us.

And today, you must not find joy in other people’s misfortune,” Moonilal said.

He said he leaves the matter in the hands of the law and looks forward to its conclusion and outcome.

“So I find no joy today at all. The court will decide on matters, police, law enforcement will deal with that and like anybody else Ms McDonald is innocent until such date, if ever, she is proven guilty of anything,” he concluded.

McDonald’s tumultuous time in Government

McDonald was fired as Housing Minister in 2016 following allegations that she abused her ministerial power to facilitate a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) home for her partner and helped pay for it.

McDonald was previously the subject of an Integrity Commission investigation for allegedly hiring her common-law husband and his brother to work at her constituency office in 2014. The Commission found no evidence of wrongdoing

In 2017, she was fired as Public Utilities Minister just two days after being sworn in, owing to the controversy that followed the presence of Cedric “Burkie” Burke, who was in 2011 arrested and charged under the anti-gang law, at the swearing-in ceremony.

McDonald returned to Government in 2018, being appointed a Minister in the Public Administration Ministry. She then took up the post as Minister, given the state of substantive Minister Maxie Cuffie’s health.

There has been no word from the Prime Minister on McDonald’s future as a Government Minister.

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