PORT-OF-SPAIN –– The coalition People’s Partnership government says it will file a motion of no confidence against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley as the campaign for the 2015 general election unofficially kicked off here last night.
“I have instructed the leader of government business in the House of Representatives in the Parliament to file a motion of no confidence against the leader of the opposition over Dr [Keith] Rowley’s failure and refusal to disclose the fact that Mr [David] West was a potential witness for him in support of his defence in a pending defamation lawsuit brought by the former attorney general,” Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar told a public meeting of her ruling United National Congress (UNC) last night.
“I have also instructed our lawyers to advise on whether Dr Rowley’s silence, misrepresentation, violated the provisions of the Integrity In Public Life Act, so as to justify an investigation by the Integrity Commission. Our lawyers will advise whether there is a prima facie case to show that Dr Rowley is in breach of the Integrity In Public Life Act,” she added.
Persad-Bissessar dismissed her Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Minister of National Security Gary Griffith following disclosure by the police that they had launched an investigation into possible charges of perverting the course of justice against Ramlogan. The probe was sparked by Griffith’s indicating he had been asked by the then attorney general to get West, the director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), to withdraw a witness statement in support of Rowley in a defamation suit brought against him by Ramlogan.
The prime minister has been calling for West’s removal from the post in light of the allegations and had also written President Anthony Carmona on establishing an independent commission to probe West.
Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj has rubbished the moves by Persad-Bissessar and instead has also called for a police probe into three other senior government ministers arising.
The prime minister told party supporters she would soon announce the date for the general election that must be held no later than September this year.
But she explained: “You will have to wait a little while longer because we have a lot more work to complete before that date is presented to you. We have not started the screening process; but there is no hurry. We will do that at the right time.
“We have not nominated any candidate for any constituency. We will only do so after we consult with you and with all the executives in every constituency. When we make the decisions, then we will want you all to work with us to ensure victory,” she told supporters at a schhol in the La Horquetta/Talparo constituency, east of here.
The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has already started screening and announcing candidates to contest the 41 seats at stake in the general election.
Persad-Bissessar told supporters Rowley had over the last five years not demonstrated leadership qualities adding: “We must not let them get into office because the 84 plus schools that we are building now should they come into office, they will not open them.
“They will close them down. They will not complete them. The Children’s Hospital that we are building in Couva will not be completed by them. The South Campus will not be completed. The Tennis Centre in Tacarigua, they will not open because they would have been projects of the Partnership.”