File photo: Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
DESPITE being told a flyer advertising a PNM-related event was bogus, UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking on a UNC platform in San Fernando on Monday night, continued to insist she was correct.
During her address, she displayed a flyer advertising a meeting carded for May 14 at Solomon Temple Church, Wallerfield, apparently titled “How to land grab and get away with it.”
The flyer advertised this meeting as being hosted by Farai Hove Masaisai of the Heliconia Foundation, in conjunction with Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings, MP for La Horquetta/Talparo, and Housing Minister Pennelope Beckles, MP for Arima.
As she criticised the blatant dishonesty being promoted in the flyer, someone passed Persad-Bissessar a note explaining that the graphic had been Photoshopped and the topic was actually land tenure and not “land-grabbing.”
Nevertheless, she stood by her earlier criticism.
“Thanks for the heads-up, but I am still right in my comments,” she insisted.
Condemning the purported lesson in “land-grabbing,” she said: “Talking about Heliconia, that guy in charge of it was a PNM councillor. Now they masquerading as an NGO.
“How can you seriously put the name of what it is you are going to do next week – ‘How to land grab and get away with it’ – And you have Minister Cummings and Beckles going down together with the PNM councillor to tell people how to land grab and get away with it.
“Shame, disgraceful. These people have absolutely no care for anything. Those two ministers have nothing to do with land.
“If they tell us they are going to see about land tenure for farmers,” she said, one could understand that.
“But where is the minister in charge of land for farmers? Where is Kazim? (Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein)? He is the new land minister.
While Cummings has continued to deny any wrongdoing and has the support of the Prime Minister, Persad-Bissessar raised more questions about the police investigation to which he has been subjected.
She said there are fresh allegations about misuse of public funds and association with a known drug dealer.
She said it seemed the Prime Minister does not care that a member of his Cabinet is under police investigation.
Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial first raised the issue last week of a 2019 Special Branch report into investigations of wrongdoing by Cummings when he was a senator.
Former police commissioner Gary Griffith confirmed the authenticity of the document, which came to his desk when he was in office. Acting CoP Mc Donald Jacob has expressed concern about the leaking of the report.
Based on fresh information, Persad-Bisessar said Cummings must say whether it is true two family-owned companies have been awarded several contracts for the upkeep of HDC properties in Couva and Chaguanas.
“It is alleged the companies have both employed a sub-contractor (name called) for several sites in the Couva area, although he is not the owner of a registered business.”
She said it is alleged that this same sub-contractor is a drug dealer as well as leader of a gang in the Couva/Point Lisas area, who runs a brisk cocaine, guns and ammunition trade. She alleged the illegal transaction is done through a club in the area.
She said her information, sent by whistleblowers, alleged that a vehicle belonging to the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, driven by an employee of the corporation, is used to transport and deliver the illegal items.
“Are these things true, Foster? I call upon you to answer.”