Kamla tells PM: It wasn’t me who put sand on highway

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar – Photo Marvin Hamilton

ALTHOUGH her constituency of Siparia is known as “Sand City,” Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said there is no evidence that the sand dumped on the highway in Monday’s protest in Claxton Bay came from Siparia.

The Prime Minister, in a Facebook post, alluded to OWTU union boss Ancel Roget and the United National Congress (UNC) as being involved in Monday’s protest by workers in the scrap-metal industry.

The workers want the six-month government-imposed export ban lifted. They lit fires and blocked the highway, causing miles of traffic, to make their point on Monday.

Claiming the allegations are false, Roget has already signalled his intention to sue Rowley for maligning him.

At the UNC’s Monday night virtual meeting, Persad-Bissessar, like the song made popular by Shaggy, also distanced herself and her party from the accusation, saying, “It wasn’t me.”

“This government continues to launch attack after attack on the economic livelihoods, social well-being, freedoms and liberties of the people of our nation.

“I saw the man (Rowley) said today that something happened on the highway and it was Mr Roget and the UNC.

“Somebody called me and asked me if the geologist did a test on the sand and the sand came from Siparia. We used to call Siparia the sand city. Did the geologist do a test?

“The UNC had no part of that, I make that very clear. We had nothing to do with that. The persons involved would answer for themselves.”

She also defended the right to protest.

“They have a right, as everyone else, to protest, to take action, and that is happening all over the country.

The government, she argued, “attack us all the time, freedoms, liberties of our citizens, in every which way they can, verbally and otherwise. But we in the UNC will never allow them to turn our country into a dictatorship state. “

Since 2015, she said, when the People’s National Movement (PNM) wrested power from her People’s Partnership government, that was the intention.

“They have hijacked our blessed country and taken us down a path of destruction.”

Suspicions that the PNM watches their every UNC event were cemented she said, as PNM conversation is always about UNC activities.

But she insisted, “The UNC is alive and functioning as a great party.”

She said the Opposition is merely accounting to the people through these forums, a concept which is alien to the PNM.

She called Rowley “a very foolish man,” asking if he was going to blame her, as she claimed he usually does, for the massive floods in west Trinidad on Monday.

“When the whole country is under flood, they laugh at us and say South and Central build houses in lagoon. Which lagoon is in the west? Damian (Senator Lyder) you tell me, you live up there.

“The whole country is under flood. Whether it is north, south, central, east, west – wherever it is, everybody is suffering.

“Whilst we recognise they find ways to give to PNM they are not giving to the PNM grassroots. They are giving to their friends and financiers, bigshots.

“Everybody is under pressure under this wicked government. There is nothing for anyone under this PNM in this country.”