Charles: Was Rowley Involved in Urvashi’s Removal?

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By Prior Beharry

AN opposition MP is asking if Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has anything to do with the removal of one of the hosts of the TV6 Morning Edition programme Urvashi Tiwari-Roopnarine.

In a release on Saturday, Naparima MP Rodney Charles said Tiwari-Roopnarine’s dismissal comes suspiciously close to her frank comments about the murder of an 18-year-old engineering student who was used as a shield.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Tiwari-Roopnarine said, “I am told I would no longer be joining you.”

She was the host of the programme on Fridays with Marlan Hopkinson doing the other days of the week. This after former host Fazeer Mohammed retired.

About three weeks ago, Tiwari-Roopnarine made comments on Morning Edition following the death of Tyrel Thomas who was used as a shield during a shootout between bandits. He was at a shop while waiting for a taxi to go home.

Tiwari-Roopnarine had said that National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds should be ashamed to collect his salary.

Naparima MP Rodney Charles. Photo: T&T Parliament

Dr Rowley also took to Facebook and in a not-so-veiled reference criticised Tiwari-Roopnarine without calling her name.

On June 17, he wrote, “ ‘A journalist writes’ to condemn the Minister and politicize a recent tragedy. Police ain’t doing nuttin! and ‘he should be ashamed to collect his salary.’

“Did she see the Police action in Cocorite where policemen confronted men ARMED with assault, military grade, prohibited weapons and who engaged the lawmen in a firefight. The officers stayed in the deadly contact and eventually suppressed their fire and seized three most dangerous weapons and restrained persons.

“I would never see a line of commendation from “a journalist”. In fact this happens every day as officers (men and women) put their lives on the line to protect the citizens.

The ‘journalist’ will remain absent and unknowing until the next time the mind of the criminal plans and executes the next outrage.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Photo: T&T Parliament

In his release on Saturday, Charles said, “If our suspicions regarding the reported – and as yet unexplained – removal of journalist Urvashi Tiwari-Roopnarine from hosting Friday Morning Edition programme are correct then our democracy is in trouble and we may be witnesses to a galloping dictatorship.

“A reasonable man may well ask if this is just another example of a galloping dictatorship.”

He said suspicions were high that her comments on the worsening crime situation did not find favour with the PNM and with Dr Rowley and “his inept” Minister of National Security.

Charles said, “If our suspicions are correct it confirms that our democracy is in crisis and all institutions appear to be taking conscious steps to remain in the good graces of Dr Rowley and the PNM.”

In the interest of transparency, Charles said he called on Dr Rowley to remove all doubt in this matter and confirm that he and his government had nothing to do with Tiwari-Roopnarine’s removal.

He added, “At the same time Dr Rolwey must tell us what is the policy regarding journalists invited to cover news conferences by his government.

“Is Robert Amar for example invited?

“Is Stephan Reis invited?

“Why am I not hearing Prior Beharry asking pointed questions at those news conferences?

“In the US the independent White House Correspondents’ Association controls the 49 press seats in the James Brady Briefing room.

“Why is MATT not performing a similar role?

“In T&T apparently it is Dr Keith Christopher Rowley in his infinite wisdom who determines which reporters cometh and who goeth to his state-funded press conferences.

“And given the tameness of the questions asked, only friendly reporters are apparently invited.

“The time has come for Dr Rowley to recognise that he is doing untold damage to the fragile institutions which protect our democracy.

“He is showing future dictators the handbook on how easy it is to win elections (minus foreign election observers) and subsequently dismantle all the guardrails set up by our founding fathers to protect our democracy.”



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