Opposition Leader: UNC will not be silenced on PNM corruption

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal wave to supporters at the launch of her campaign slate for the UNC internal election in Barrackpore on June 10. – Photo courtesy UNC

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she will not shut up and will continue to speak out on corruption in the People’s National Movement (PNM) as she challenged Attorney General Reginald Armour to sue her for statements concerning his disqualification in a Florida civil forfeiture case.

As she introduced her slate of candidates for the UNC June 26 internal elections in Barrackpore on Friday night, Persad-Bissessar also referred to the High Court ruling against Government minister Foster Cummings who tried to gag UNC senator Jayanti Lutchmedial from speaking about alleged corruption claims against him.

She told the live audience at Sumanie Trace, Barrackpore, that the purpose of filing an injunction against Lutchmedial was to shut her up. On Friday, High Court judge Nadia Kangaloo ruled in favour of Lutchmedial as she ruled her reference to a Special Branch report and other matters were fair comment as Cummings was a person in public life.

“He wants to shut her up. He wants all of us to shut up. Foster says we cannot talk about his alleged corruption. We must not talk about the Special Branch report about allegations, investigations.”

But the court says he has a very weak case and did not grant him the injunction. Today (Friday) she (Lutchmedial) put down a great licking in the courthouse against Foster Cummings (Youth Development and National Service Minister), Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar recalled a conversation with Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, who on learning of the lawsuit against Lutchmedial encouraged her to speak out about allegations against Cummings before he filed similar lawsuits against all the UNC speakers.

“Well, the first one has failed and we will not stop talking about corruption in the PNM. We will not stop talking about the things they do with taxpayers’ money.

“We have an AG who is the titular head of the bar and this is the man who went to a court in Miami – sue me, sue me and I will take you up in court Mr Armour, AG.

“What a shame and a scandal…He has shamed us.”

“How much worse can we get. We have a President who allowed the Prime Minister to deal with her to take away the (merit) list for the commissioner of police from the Police Service Commission.

“From top to bottom, they have corrupted every single institution in our country.”

“Enough is enough. Now is the time to let our voices be heard. We must not give up. We must not back down. They want us to shut up but we will not shut up.”

Unlike Armour who has chosen to remain silent after he was disqualified, Persad-Bissessar assured, “We will not take a voice of silence.

“The AG, when called out says he will stay silent. Why? Because he is a PNM.”

On May 2, Armour was disqualified from taking part in Florida lawsuit against former government minister Brian Kuei Tung and others because he once represented Kuei Tung in a related criminal matter in TT involving corruption allegations in Piarco Airport corruption case.

The Florida law firm, Sequor Law, which had conduct of the matter for 18 years for the state, was also disqualified. The government has appealed the ruling which has not yet been fixed for hearing.