Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Kamla calls on PM to explain 'fuelgate'; Rowley hits back

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is again calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to answer a number of questions surrounding Government's sale of fuel to Aruba, which was reportedly then sent to Venezuela.

The imbroglio started when a newspaper reported that Trinidad and Tobago may face sanctions by the United States over a fuel shipment linked to Venezuela.

On Friday, the Prime Minister accused the Opposition Leader of scaremongering and giving light to the rumour that Trinidad and Tobago had broken US sanctions.

He further accused the Opposition Leader of not only undermining the country’s foreign policy, but inviting others to do so.

Seeking to set the record straight, Rowley reminded that last Wednesday in the Parliament, he answered a UNC question and denied any knowledge of T&T fuel business making any sales to Venezuela.

The Energy Minister, he noted also responded saying that the Government sold fuel to Aruba and cannot be held responsible for the end user of the product.

He outrightly denied that T&T directly sent any fuel shipment to Venezuela.

However, in response to the Prime Minister's statement on Sunday, the Opposition Leader accused him of misleading the population on the matter and again called for an explanation, on what she described as 'fuelgate.'

"Today, I am compelled to respond to the delusional, misleading and outright deceitful ranting of Rowley in his latest attempts to falsely malign many citizens, myself included, of this land. This after I called on him to tell the truth about the questionable ‘Fuelgate’ fiasco his Government has recklessly plunged our country into. Instead of providing cogent and credible responses to this crucial matter, Rowley reverted to his usual ‘gangster’ modus operandi."

The Opposition Leader called on Rowley to take steps to clear T&T's name.

"But he must first ensure that Trinidad & Tobago does not suffer from his very reckless and dangerous actions and therefore publicly declare that: He is in fact FULLY cooperating with US’s investigations into this ‘Fuelgate’ fiasco;
He will now contact the US Embassy and State Department to give them ALL necessary documentation to prove that Trinidad &Tobago is indeed an innocent party in this matter," she said.

The Opposition Leader said the Prime Minister must also provide a comprehensive explanation as to why the Venezuelan Vice-President was recently allowed into the country.

She said he must provide the order form, request, management vouchers, Board approval/ notes/minutes from the Paria Fuel Trading company to show that the fuel shipment in question was made before the Venezuelan Vice-President's visit.

Persad-Bissessar said these documents must also be laid in the Parliament.

"Further, because his actions can now seriously compromise all citizens, in the interest of truth, transparency and accountability, Rowley must also lay these documents in the Parliament for public oversight and historic record. Failure to do so will mandate nothing less than his immediate resignation as Prime Minister."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has responded to the Opposition Leader's call to provide more information on the fuel shipment to Aruba.

In a statement on Monday, Rowley slammed a Trindad Express article, in which the Opposition Leader called on him to provide documentation to the US Ambassador.

See the statement below:

"As for calling on the Government to further explain the fuel sale after all that has been reported by government officials here is to simply say that the Government is not to be believed. In which case the Editorial writer finds common cause with the UNC rabble who demand that all documents be taken on bended knees in supplication to the US Ambassador to prove the veracity of what has been said by the Prime Minister, the Energy Minister and the Chairman of Paria. As if that wasn’t enough the government is to dispel speculation about a visit by the Venezuelan Vice President by providing copies of the minutes and the agenda of the meeting for the perusal of the public, as if that would create finality in trust and belief. Suffice it to say that truth always has one version which will always remain unshakable even in the face of healthy skepticism."

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