PORT OF SPAIN –– Supporters, who were eager to hear an election date at the United National Congress’ 26th anniversary celebration in Couva yesterday, left disappointed last night after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar revealed she had no intention of calling an early election.
Addressing thousands of flag-waving supporters at Rienzi Complex, Persad-Bissessar said she would not follow her predecessor Patrick Manning by calling elections before time.
“Today, speculation is all over that I am going to announce the election date today. But listen carefully, the last time a man tried that, he lost the election when he called it before time.
“I say my track record speaks for itself. We have held every single election within time, according to the laws of T&T,” she shouted while trumpets blasted and horns blared.
She added: “Today, I say I will continue to comply with the law. I give you the assurance that I will call the elections when the elections are constitutionally due under the law.”
Sending a message to Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, who has repeatedly demanded the election date, Persad-Bissessar said nobody would force her to call elections early.
“No one will jumbie me to call an election before it is due. They could jump high, they could jump low, no election date will be announced before it is due. They could bark and shout, we will call it when it is due,” she said.
Persad Bissessar also took Rowley to task, saying he was using parliamentary privilege to bring members of government into disrepute. But saying that government planned to move a motion of censure against Rowley in Parliament, Persad-Bissessar added this would be one of the ways of ensuring people’s characters were protected.
“I have instructed the leader of the House, Dr Roodal Moonilal, to file his motion of censure and we will call on the House for Rowley to be suspended from the services of the House,” Persad-Bissessar said.
Saying that Rowley should not be allowed to use Parliament to impugn office holders, the prime minister vowed to deal with Rowley within the confines of Parliament.
Referring to the emailgate scandal, Persad-Bissessar also called on the police to clear the air and announce publicly whether the series of emails read in Parliament by Rowley in May, 2013, were true.
The emails implicated Persad-Bissessar, former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and Local Government minister Suruj Rambachan in conspiracies against the director of public prosecutions and a reporter, as well as allegations of the payment of moneys in exchange for freedom of former financiers.
However, Persad-Bissessar said there was proof the emails were fabricated and she called on the police to take action against Rowley for misleading the country.
“I have legally all the Google records pursuant to a court order in the case filed by the Integrity Commission, and all the emails for the month of September which Rowley sent out were fake.
“Not a single email remotely resembled anything that he read. Three sources have said there is no substance, no truth and no basis for the fake emails that Rowley read. We gave full authority to disclose those records and tonight I call on the police to state whether there was any email as Rowley said,” Persad-Bissessar stated.
Predicting that Rowley would pay the price for his mischief, she said as Trinidad went into elections the truth should be made known.
“Should the conclusion of the report indicate that the contents of the email were fake and criminal proceedings undertaken, the opposition leader must immediately resign from his seat,” she said.
During the celebrations, several UNC founders, including Basdeo Panday, John Humphrey, Dr Allan Mc Kenzie, Trevor Sudama, Lloyd Williams and Rampersad Parasram, were lauded. Panday failed to show up, but his proteges said his contribution to the UNC would always be remembered.