Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Photo/T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar wants to know from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley if the investigation into the Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) will go cold in a similar way as other investigations.
Admitting she does not know all the facts surrounding the case, Persad-Bissessar said whenever an investigation is “led” by Dr Rowley, the public is not fully informed of the outcome of that investigation.
She was speaking during the United National Congress (UNC) virtual report on the budget on Monday night.
Persad-Bissessar said, “I have a concern because, initially when the story came, we were told that high ranking officials were involved in the DSS. I do not know details and I have nothing against anybody who is earning money in a legal manner. I have a concern when the prime minister now agrees, before he did not agree, now agrees to send the commissioner of police somewhere and then he takes over the investigation.”
She said, “(Dr Roodal) Moonilal has spoken in the Parliament about privatising of national security so when it comes now, what would happen? The same thing that has happened to every report that the prime minister has taken over.
Referring to an article in a newspaper she said, “When you want to get something done, you get it done, when you do not want to get something done, you set up a committee. You set up an investigation and then you never get that report. You never see that report so will this one go the way of all those other reports and investigations?
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is presently out of the country and Dr Rowley has sought the assistance of foreigners investigators for the matter that involves millions and a member of national security following a raid in La Horquetta.
Assistance was sought from the British Government and Barbados and two senior investigators from Barbados would be involved in the investigation Dr Rowley has said.
Persad-Bissessar said Member of Parliament for Couva South, Rudranath Indarsingh would be asked to also look into the matter on behalf of the UNC.
The Opposition Leader also called on the government to deal expeditiously with the situation involving the FSO Nabarima that has now garnered international attention echoing calls from various groups and organisations.
Persad-Bissessar made similar statements that should any oil be spilled into the waters from the vessel that is moored in the Gulf of Paria, it would environmentally detrimental for many Caribbean countries including Trinidad and Tobago.
Giving a history of the purchase of vehicles in the country, Persad-Bissessar said it was once a luxury afforded to the most wealthy and now the government was attempting to rob citizens of the opportunity to own a car because of the immense traffic problem developed as a result of an excess of cars being on the nation’s roads.
She said the policy to implement taxes will now cripple the foreign used car industry and the person with a lesser income will not be able to afford a vehicle.
“This budget has effectively destroyed the foreign used car industry. Shouldn’t the solution be to have better traffic management?” she asked.
She repeated her statements that the Budget was done in poor taste, adding nothing of value to the lives of citizens and that the months ahead will be very difficult for all.
And the UNC leader also spoke about her party’s membership.
The UNC internal elections are due soon and already, several within the party have called for her resignation as leader.
Quoting her predecessor and party’s founder Basdeo Panday, Persad-Bissessar said, “The UNC is not a cow that you could take it and hand it over to some-one else.”
Many members who have never worked for the party felt as if they were an entitled to a position because of their family relationships or professional and economic status, however preference was given in the last general election to those who laboured dutifully to the party.
Because the party’s focus was on youth and children, she said it pained some of the older members to see several younger members getting chosen for key positions in the party and the composition of the Opposition in Parliament.
“I have never turned or abandoned the membership and I will never do so,” she stated.