The Prime Minister is moving forward with his lawsuit against whistleblower Akil Abdullah for allegations that Abdullah made against him.
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine used Abdullah’s allegations to support claims that Rowley and the Commissioner of Police (CoP), Erla Harewood-Christopher, were part of a conspiracy to bring the THA administration down.
Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, Rowley said, “I did issue a pre-action protocol to the gentleman who I saw in the assembly telling stories about his relationship with me. I did in fact ask him to retract his potion.”
He added that the matter is following the proper legal channels.
“You know how these things go. You issue a pre-action protocol letter and you wait. The person ask for time and you give them time…And then the person came back saying they have privilege so that matter is on the way to court.”
Rowley was asked if he would extend an olive branch to Augustine but said he was not yet over the entire imbroglio.
He said prior to the allegations, he had a good working relationship with Augustine, having even had breakfast together on one occasion.
Rowley said he even initiated their most recent meeting to discuss how both administrations could work together to develop Tobago.
“The last time I sat with him, I called him and the purpose of that meeting was to broach the idea of central government assisting the THA with a development plan for Tobago so that if we get that plan it has buy-in on both sides.”
“That’s the last time I saw him. The next time I saw him was in a special sitting of the assembly called to advise Tobago that the Prime Minister and central government is undermining his administration in a huge conspiracy with the Commissioner of Police and my private lawyer and I’ve been meeting with some man.”
“All I can tell you, I haven’t gotten over that yet.”
Rowley said the story has taken on a life of its own as Augustine continues to address it at public meetings.
He criticised Augustine for besmirching TT’s reputation.
“We are sitting at the general assembly of the United Nations as the president but the head of the executive in Tobago, at the THA, is telling world that in TT…the Prime Minister and the Commissioner of Police (are) undermining the duly elected House of Assembly in Tobago in criminal activity.”
“That’s a story that went worldwide. When I recover form that I will let you know.”
Rowley also slammed people who criticised the Government after a fire on board the Cabo Star – which had to withdrawn from service as a result – describing them as “unreasonable”.
He said, “I am yet to meet the person who will tell me ‘if I was in office or if I was in the ministry that fire wouldn’t have taken place.’ I haven’t met that person yet but that person exists.”
Rowley added, “The link is served by the Cabo Star, TT Spirit, Galleons Passage, Buccoo Reef and APT James. I don’t know any inter-island connection anywhere in the Caribbean that has a connection like that. Serviced by five pieces of expensive equipment.”
He questioned the behaviour of some people and pointed out that temporary solutions were put in place immediately following the incident. A vessel, the Emprendedora, has been leased from Venezuela to transport cargo while the Cabo Star undergoes repairs.
“In our service to Tobago we immediately, not the next week or next year, immediately had an increase in the number of trips the fast ferries were making.”
“Why everybody behaving so? Why are we behaving like that as if it never should have happened?”
“The bottom line is that we are doing what is required to restore the situation…the sky is not falling and we are going to get back to normal in a few days.”