Rowley: Who is corrupt in my government?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Rowley makes a point during the sitting of the House of Representatives at the Red House on March 6. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE Prime Minister has challenged anyone to prove conclusively that any member of his administration is involved in corruption.

He was speaking at a PNM meeting at Tropical Harps panyard, Enterprise, Chaguanas, on March 7.

Rowley told PNM supporters the UNC and its friends often claim the Government is corrupt but have never provided any indisputable evidence to support their claims.

He put these questions to his audience.

“I ask you tonight, which member in my government has had, in the eight and half years that I have been prime minister, to answer to you for any reasonable accusation of corrupt practice? Which one? Call the name now! Which one is talking to the police about any dishonest action? Call the name now.”

Rowley countered that the UNC could not pose these questions to the population about themselves, either in government or opposition.

He claimed, “The UNC have people in the Parliament, when their colleague went and tell the police they were engaged in human trafficking and all that goes with that – they still in the Parliament.

“It have one in the Parliament on $1 million bail. Half of them have criminal matters in the courthouse and coming to be the advocate for fighting crime for you.”

He recalled that at a recent UNC anti-crime town-hall meeting, Prof Selwyn Cudjoe claimed the level of crime in Trinidad and Tobago was linked to his wealth as prime minister.

After dismissing Cudjoe’s claims, Rowley asked if Cudjoe had forgotten these things about the UNC in the public domain.

“Cudjoe ain’t see that?”

While the UNC is preoccupied with crime, Rowley wondered why the Opposition will not speak about 800 firearms and millions of rounds of ammunition seized by law-enforcement agencies in recent times.

He also wondered why Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other members of the UNC had nothing positive to say about any member of the protective services.

Rowley reiterated the longstanding view about corrupt elements in these agencies.

“While we have a set of raggamuffins in all those services, we have thousands of honest people there to do an honest day’s work, standing between you and the criminal element.”

He reiterated his call to the public that if they “know something (about crime), say something.

“Until we root out the criminal element from our security services, we will always be in danger.”

Rowley has spoken recently about setting up vetted units to weed out corrupt elements in the police.

In February, after he returned from an official visit to Washington, DC, Rowley said this was the subject of discussions with US government and security officials there.