Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 21st 2015 Contents Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says he has
no regrets about wining with a young woman
while playing mas in Ivan Kalicharan s Bazodee
in San Fernando on Carnival Tuesday. However,
he is concerned that the young woman involved,
Ravina Rampersad, has been unnecessarily
ridiculed because of the incident.
Pictures of Rowley wining with Rampersad in
the band created a social media firestorm this week.
The PNM leader was criticised by many, including
general secretary of the Sanathan Dharma Maha
Sabha Sat Maharaj, for inappropriate conduct.
Last night, however, Rowley told CNC3 he did
not know what the issue was, noting when someone
told him what the issue is he will respond. He said
he did not share the view that the issue was impor-
tant and he intended to move on.
"It is a strange issue and for some people it is
entertaining, for some it is nothing serious. I went
down for Carnival, had a great time in a band in
San Fernando and I have absolutely no regrets," he
He said he made contact with a lot of people
while in the band and a lot of men and women
But, he added, because of the development a
young citizen was now being targeted with vicious
comments and attacks.
Rampersad was forced to deactivate her Facebook
page due to some of the negative comments, some
of them racially toned, which the photos, taken and
posted online by photographer Trevor Watson, gen-
Independent Liberal Party leader Jack Warner
also commented on the issue yesterday, saying it
was a wine of distraction from the real issues affect-
ing the nation.
He said if a similar situation occurred to him he
would "wine back, even at my age."
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
said yesterday former National Security
Minister Gary Griffith had orally recom-
mended David West to her for the post of
head of the Police Complaints Authority
And Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
said in his dialogue with the Prime Minister
on the West appointment, he didn t inform
her West was his witness in a private lawsuit
with former Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan since there was "no requirement" to
discuss it with her.
Persad-Bissessar and Rowley made their
disclosures in Parliament during the "ques-
tion time" period for the PM, when Per-
sad-Bissessar fielded questions from Rowley
and Independent Liberal Party (ILP) MP
Jack Warner on the West matter now con-
fronting the People s Partnership (PP)
The PM countered some of Rowley s
probings with questions of her own on his
failure to disclose that West was his witness
in a private lawsuit with Ramlogan.
West last month filed a police report
alleging "witness tampering" and an attempt
to pervert the course of justice by former
Persad-Bissessar subsequently sought
and received Ramlogan s resignation and
also removed Griffith from Cabinet.
Griffith has given a witness statement to
police on the West matter and has also
claimed he was "pressured" by some min-
isters to retract his statements.
Yesterday, Persad-Bissessar was probed
by the PNM on whether there were any
discussions with any Cabinet
member/members prior to offering West
the PCA post and whether Ramlogan was
involved in those discussions.
Persad-Bissessar said West s name was
never discussed in the Cabinet.
She said President Anthony Carmona
wrote her on September 2, 2014, saying he
had received the resignation of former PCA
director Gillian Lucky and drew attention
to Section Six of the governing act regarding
joint advice from herself and the Opposition
She said she later sought recommenda-
tions at Cabinet and the former AG and
several others may have been present but
she said West s name was not discussed at
The PM said after that she received oral
recommendations and Griffith had verbally
recommended West to her.
After that she said she sought to have a
meeting with Rowley on the issue but even-
tually spoke to him on the phone since he
could not have a meeting on it.
She said Rowley called and said they
should proceed. She said he wrote her on
November 3, saying West was eminently
qualified and suitable for the post and the
President should be advised on it.
She said after that she wrote the President
attaching Rowley s letter to her, adding they
both agreed on West.
Persad-Bissessar said no Cabinet member
was apprised of the names proposed for the
On when the PM knew that West was a
witness in a private lawsuit filed by Ram-
logan in a matter against Rowley, she said
she learned of it like everyone else in January
when it was reported in the media.
She said the situation begged the question
of whether Rowley knew West was his wit-
ness. She noted the Integrity Act on persons
in public office and the use of office to
confer benefits directly/indirectly.
"At no time did Dr Rowley say West was
his witness in the lawsuit," the Prime Min-
ister pointed out.
Rowley asked if at no time between June
2014 and January 2015 Ramlogan hadn t
told her he knew West was a witness in a
He admitted he had not discussed the
West aspect with the PM since there was
no requirement to discuss it with her.
The Government benches protested loud-
ly: "No, no, no."
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Saturday, February 21, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NO COE ON WITNESS TAMPERING
Government has not established a commission
of enquiry on the witness-tampering allegations
by PCA head David West since the matter wis
being probed by police, Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar said yesterday.
Replying to a question by ILP MP Jack Warner,
she said COEs were fact finding and
recommendation forums whose findings could be
forwarded to the police, DPP, Integrity
Commission or similar bodies.
She said the allegations were already before the
police and there was no need for a COE.
She repeated a similar explanation on PNM
queries why no COE was initiated on the Life
Sport issue, which she had forwarded to the
police, DPP and others to probe.
No regrets over wine
PM vex with Rowley
During his questioning, Rowley also asked
the Prime Minister to identify any interest
he had or could have regarding West's
appointment to the PCA.
Persad-Bissessar expressed surprise that
Rowley "couldn't understand" that in making
the recommendation he was conducting
constitutional duty in a public matter in the
public interest and didn't seem to
understand the conflict of interest in the
She said that involved the recommending
of a person for public office, who was a
witness in a private lawsuit.
"He (Rowley) had a duty to disclose
conflict of interest in the matter," the PM
Persad-Bissessar said Ramlogan also had
not informed her of the lawsuit or West
being a witness, nor did Griffith speak of
any lawsuit involving West.
On Rowley's query on whether she knew
he (Rowley) was being sued by Ramlogan,
the PM said she was not aware.
She said she had been at meetings in
Washington and Costa Rica in January, had
returned home to hear of the issue, sought
statements from the ministers involved and
took action on February 2.
The PM said if she had known of the
lawsuit she would have asked Rowley to
declare his interest in the matter but "there
was no disclosure," adding she didn't know
how many people sue Rowley.
On Rowley's question about what the
witness-tampering policy was, Persad-
Bissessar said Government had taken a
tough stance on witness tampering.
She noted law passed last year in the
Parliament on the issue when he was
present and wondered if Rowley was "still
bazodee" (from his Carnival celebration) and
could not recall that. Penalty on conviction is
$100,000 and 20 years in jail.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
says she may have to sue Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley very soon on the
She made the comment in Parliament
yesterday while replying to Opposition and
Independent Liberal Party s (ILP) ques-
The PM also expressed amazement at a
question by ILP leader Jack Warner regarding
why he didn t get any tickets for Carnival
"It s very interesting where this Parliament
has reached, an MP using the question time
for the Prime Minister to ask the Prime
Minister why he didn t get Carnival tickets.
I notice your friends (PNM) on the others
side are very quiet, perhaps they got their
tickets," she added.
She said she was not aware of any breach
of usual protocol on the ticket issue and
Arts Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas would
deliver a statement on the matter. She said
Warner was well aware she did not condone
Persad-Bissessar also said no Cabinet
decision had been taken to reduce the num-
ber of armoured vehicles the Ministry of
National Security was acquiring.
On a media report that moves were on
to reduce the quota, she said one could not
believe everything reported and it would be
raised with the minister. She said decisions
were not made on the hoof.
She also said the Constitution Amend-
ment Bill, concerning the runoff proposal,
is on the Parliament agenda and advance
notice would be given on when it would be
Persad-Bissessar also said Government
was not taking steps to introduce/reintroduce
land and building taxes nor was there any
proposal for revision-reduction of the 2015
budget due to falling oil prices.
She said Government s Health Card would
be rolled out soon.
Picong also flew from the People s Part-
nership, with retorts from the PNM, on
Rowley s wining episode on Carnival Tues-
day in San Fernando.
PP MP Roodal Moonilal, defending the
PM against the PNM attack, asked Rowley
at one point: "You feel you in San Fernan-
The photo of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley
and Ravina Rampersad which caused a firestorm
after it was posted on Facebook.
...threatens to sue over E-mailgate
confirms Gary recommended West
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