UNC MP for Oropouche West Davendranath Tancoo. Photo: T&T Parliament
By Sue-Ann Wayow
MEMBER of Parliament for Oropouche West Davendranath Tancoo has called on two government ministers to give detailed reasons why they had to recuse themselves from Cabinet many times and in one case, more than 50 times.
His call was echoed by the political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar during the party’s virtual meeting on Monday night.
Tancoo who spoke before Persad-Bissessar continued to lambast government for what he claims were wasteful spending and a budget that added no value to the lives of citizens.
Tancoo said, “Today, I challenge the two senior Government Ministers who recused themselves on more than 50 occasions from the Cabinet, to tell the country what exactly those matters were, how much money was involved and what was the conflict of interest which made them have to step out. And these are the same people who come to you pretending to be humble and holier than thou.”
The ministers later named, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Faris Al-Rawi and National Security Minister Stuart Young were also asked by Persad-Bissessar to give specific details as to why they had to recuse themselves from Cabinet so many times.
She said information obtained revealed that Young had to recuse himself 57 times and Al-Rawi, 37 times from Cabinet. That’s 94 times in total.
Tancoo said while the government continued to borrow billions, they had nothing substantial to show for meaningful investment and the population continued to be neglected while other persons could pocket large sums of money because of affiliation and governmental positions.
He also claimed that Covid-19 relief, while he was happy for everyone who received grants, there was discrimination in its allocation.
He said, “Imbert claims to have already spent $4 billion dollars on Covid relief with another $2 billion to be spent this year. When I asked him which areas benefitted, he rattled off names of grants and dollar values but claimed that he could not tell the geographical area.
“Everyone of these forms required the applicant to provide their address. If there was equitable distribution, ask yourself why he is hiding this information. I am glad for everyone who was in need and received assistance. But what I cannot and will not accept is discrimination in the allocation of the country’s resources.”
For the constituency he represents, Tancoo said it continued to be plagued by flooding and again while he was pleased to see proper works being carried out in another area, Oropouche West was neglected.
“We have floodgates which have been in desperate need of replacement, non functioning pumps, drains and rivers that desperately need attention and all we keep getting for the last five years is talk, talk and more talk. That is geographic discrimination,” he said.
Other speakers for the night included MP for San Juan/Baratria Saddam Hosein and former MP for Moruga/Tableland, Clifton de Coteau.