Thursday 23 November, 2017

PM: Textgate is 'Opposition mischief'

Text messages allegedly implicating Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi in a conspiracy to plant recording devices in the office of Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen are being dismissed as an Opposition mischief.

It was Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal who brought the issue to the public, after he read a series of text messages in Parliament purportedly to be between Al-Rawi and a man named Mark Adams discussing the planting of the recording devices.

Mark claimed he was contacted by Al-Rawi several times in 2016 and agreed to break in to Ramdeen's office to plant the devices.

He further claimed he was offered a $100,000 bribe in return for the phone storing the messages.

Al-Rawi has denied all the allegations.

The matter is now the subject of a police investigation.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley spoke on the matter during a news conference on Thursday afternoon, saying the Opposition has become known for launching similar attacks.

He said he was the subject of several such attacks in the past including allegations from former journalist Anika Gumbs and former Tobago East MP Vernella Alleyne-Toppin.

Shortly before the September, 2015 general elections, Gumbs had accused Rowley of making inappropriate comments and gestures towards her which had left her "traumatised".

Alleyne-Toppin had referred to Rowley as a "child of rape" during  a debate on a motion of no confidence against him in March, 2015.

Rowley said he could therefore see nothing substantial in the text message claims against the Attorney General.

"I have seen nothing other than opposition obfuscation," Rowley said.

"Just remember. Remember Anika Gumbs of the Express that got up one morning and accused me personally as opposition leader of being inappropriate with her? That was UNC organised to discredit me as opposition leader.

"Remember Vernella Alleyne-Toppin? That was organised by the opposition UNC to discredit me as opposition leader. So now there is a third one organised by the same pople targeting someone who they are mortally afraid of and who they want to damage politically. I have lived it, I know the model and I think by now the country should know whose model that is."