UNC rejects PM’s denial of attacking DPP

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

DPP Roger Gaspard – File photo/Sureash Cholai

THE UNC has rejected the Prime Minister’s claim that neither he nor his government were attacking the DPP.

Dr Rowley made his denial at the post-Cabinet news conference on Thursday.

In a statement issued after that conference, the UNC said, “The Prime Minister reverted to his usual tactic: blast or blame (Opposition Leader) Kamla (Persad-Bissessar) and distract from the core issues.”

The party also said that at no time did Rowley address key matters.

These included the DPP’s staff shortage concerns, tension between Gaspard and Chief Justice Ivor Archie regarding the state of the criminal justice system, and the system being on the verge of collapse.

UNC deputy political leader Jearlean John and Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial reinforced the party’s statement, when they were contacted by Newsday.

John said, “As usual he did not address the burning issues.” She claimed Rowley has placed himself in an untenable position regarding the DPP.

“The reason for the press conference was clear – to deny he had attacked the DPP in the most unseemly manner on that PNM political platform (on March 9).” John reiterated the UNC’s view that Rowley is putting TT on a path towards dictatorship.

She said the UNC continues to stand in defence of TT and the Constitution. “With all the usual bluster, bullying and belligerence, the PM just tried to duck, run and deny.”

Lutchmedial said, “If he was not attacking the DPP, why were his remarks about the office made on a political platform and which were then followed by his AG insulting that entire department?

Lutchmedial maintained Rowley’s comments about the DPP at the recent PNM political meeting in Barataria were “clearly an attempt to undermine that office and paint them in an unfavourable light.”

She was sceptical about Rowley’s disclosure that AG Reginald Armour was having conversations with Gaspard about possibly hiring lawyers from Commonwealth countries to work in the DPP’s Office.

Lutchmedial said she did not see this as a long-term solution.

She hopes it would not create a situation of hiring people who would be “beholden to the political directorate” for a brief or contract extension.