PM knows 'nothing' of improper hamper distribution claims
Pictured: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Photo via Facebook, the Office of the Parliament.
State-funded hampers for families in need of assistance were given to the offices of Members of Parliament for wider distribution to their constituents and not offices of the People’s National Movement (PNM).
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in response to the claims by United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said he knew nothing about the hampers being distributed to PNM operatives.
Persad-Bissessar made the allegations while speaking at a meeting of the Ummah T&T/ Muslim Federation on Saturday. She said she was in possession of evidence proving her claims, which has since been passed on to the UNC’s lawyers.
At a media conference on Monday Dr Rowley said it was his understanding that all 41 MPs had received hampers from the Ministry of Social Development and Family Service.
“If the UNC MPs did not give those hampers to their constituents then that is unfortunate,” he said.
The Prime Minister, who is the MP for Diego Martin West, said his only involvement with hampers was that 50 percent of his salary goes toward providing hampers for his constituents.
He explained that the hampers were given to MPs offices as citizens with “immediate and urgent needs” were visiting these places.
He said it was for this same reason that all religious bodies received funding to assist them in providing food support to their followers.
Dr Rowley said these efforts ensured that no one was left behind and left hungry.
He noted, however, that for the most part this situation has improved across the board.
“We have gone past that stage, there are less people in that situation. People have more or less gone back to work and are now earning and they can buy their food. Many people relied on these.”
“So this thing about mixing up MP office with improper conduct I know nothing about that,” the Prime Minister concluded.