Moonilal: Hinds’ official vehicle involved in gunplay

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal. FIle photo/Jeff K Mayers

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is claiming the official bullet-proof vehicle assigned to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds was fired at, and wants to know who shot at it.

He said the vehicle has undergone repairs at Camp Ogden for bullet holes, and called on Hinds to confirm whether it had been involved in some kind of gunplay.

Moonilal said this was a very serious matter and Hinds must say whether the gunshot came from inside or outside the vehicle and whether his life or that of any defence force personnel was threatened.

Hinds did not respond to a telephone call from Newsday.

On a United National Congress (UNC) platform in San Fernando on Monday night, Moonilal showed a photo of a vehicle, saying it is the vehicle in question.

“I want to ask Mr Hinds tonight,” he said, “this vehicle, funded by the taxpayer, was it assigned to you? It has undergone repairs for gunshot fire at the army base in Camp Ogden and at Cumuto. It is a bullet-proof vehicle.”

Pointing out that an earlier news conference on Monday Hinds spoke about codes and decency and honesty, he said Hinds owed it to the nation to explain the circumstances under which this expensive taxpayer asset was damaged and the cost of repairing it.

To establish whether the gunshot damage came from inside or outside, Moonilal asked, “Was it a case of what is called negligent discharge, and who discharged a firearm in or around that asset?

“If it was a soldier, was it reported? Was any report made on the discharge on the round of ammunition? Has any investigation been launched into the conduct of any soldier of VIP security officer in this incident?

“If this was not done, why was it not done? Who committed the offence?

“More importantly, I ask the minister, did this negligent discharge happen inside the vehicle? What is the cost to the taxpayer to repairing this vehicle?”

He said it is routine in the military to seize the gun and suspend a soldier while an investigation takes place, if a shot has been negligently discharged.

“Was a report made of the ammunition that was discharged? Has any investigation been launched into the conduct of any soldier or VIP security officer in this incident?

“If this was not done, why was it not done. Who committed the offence?

“You know,” he added, “Hinds once told us he is not in charge of security of citizens. Looks like he is not in charge of his own security.