PORT OF SPAIN – Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley suggested yesterday the proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011 was a possible $2 million payback for two businessmen who were once UNC financiers. He said so during his contribution to yesterday’s special debate in Parliament to repeal that section of the act.
Rowley also demanded Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar explain why her People’s Partnership Cabinet advised President George Maxwell Richards to proclaim the section.
The act was intended to eliminate preliminary inquiries in the magistrates court. “But the beneficiaries known to us today, who have approached the court are known party financiers who have identified themselves as such in their own pleadings and for whom I have seen a cheque for $2 million to their party in the last election,” Rowley told legislators.
He did not call the names of the financiers. However, two former financiers of the United National Congress – businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh – were seen as immediate beneficiaries of the newly-proclaimed law. The two are wanted in the US to answer fraud and money-laundering charges. Rowley said apart from Galbaransingh and Ferguson, there would be other beneficiaries of the law.
He said the single most important matter to be explained in the entire debate was why the section was secretly proclaimed during the golden jubilee celebrations two weeks ago. He said many observers were demanding to know why that section of the bill was proclaimed. “Who did it? Who advanced this to the Cabinet? Why did they do that, and why did the Cabinet agree to give this benefit in this way?”‚he demanded of Persad-Bissessar. (Guardian)