Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2016 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
While the ruling People s National
Movement has expressed disappointment
at the situation involving former senator
Hafeez Ali --- after news of a sex tape
involving him was leaked online --- Ali
himself says he is disheartened by some
of the information "out there" about it
and public comments about him.
But while expressing disappointment at
the situation yesterday, PNM chairman
Franklin Khan said personally, colleagues
were in support of Ali and would help him
to "get the counselling he needs."
The respective parties --- and others con-
nected to the matter --- spoke yesterday
after Ali was replaced in the Senate following
his resignation as senator last Friday.
The 43-year-old Ali resigned after a social
media video of him displaying sexually
explicit behaviour surfaced online last week.
Yesterday, Ali confirmed the matter had
been reported to the police last Friday as
an alleged extortion attempt. He, however,
distanced himself from reports on the issue
in the Newsday.
Sounding somewhat dispirited, Ali said:
"I m feeling very disheartened about some
of the information on this issue out there
and as well about some of the public com-
ments being made about me but the real
information will come to light." He said the
episode was only "ten seconds."
But Ali declined to speak about relatives
reactions or how his family --- he has four
daughters and a son --- was coping with the
Ali is listed on PNM s website as a teacher
and principal at Nur E Islam mosque in San
Juan over 1999 to 2002. His grandfather
was the late Imam Razack Ali of the Nur
E Islam Mosque and his parents owned
business in the areas.
The T&T Guardian learned yesterday that
several members of the Muslim community
in his area have called Ali to express "deep
concern" about the video and reports.
Khan yesterday told reporters Ali had
spoken to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
about the leaked online video after it became
known to "key people in the party." He said
Rowley and Ali had discussed it and Ali had
Khan said the right to hire or fire ministers
and appoint senators was in the PM s
domain but Ali s resignation was not
requested since he had indicated the inten-
tion to resign. Khan added: "Obviously,
based on the circumstances (of his resig-
nation) we are disappointed something like
this has happened but it s a personal matter
and we don t want to delve deeper."
He said he was certain Ali was "very
regretful." But, he sai, he was also certain
that Ali, a young man, would learn that
"things happen in life" and one had to move
on and deal with it.
"From a personal note, we all support
him and his going to counselling and are
giving him all the support he needs," he
Khan said Ali was still co-ordinator of
PNM s Barataria-San Juan unit and the party
leadership had not yet adjudicated on that
PNM constituency chairman, Joseph Ross,
didn t answer calls yesterday regarding how
the unit felt about the situation concerning
its co-ordinator. Deputy chairman Kwesi
Antoine, meanwhile, said he could not say
if the unit would meet to discuss the Ali
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Hafeez Ali's senatorial position was declared
vacant in the Senate yesterday, according to a notice
from the President's office acting in accordance with
advice from the Prime Minister.
PNM deputy chairman Rohan Sinanan was
appointed to replace Ali in the Senate.
Also appointed as a temporary senator, replacing
PNM Senator Dennis Moses who is overseas, was
Imran Khan, grandson of the late Kamaluddin
Mohammed. Khan's entry also marked the
replacement of a Muslim presence on the
Government benches following Ali's departure.
But Ali's freshman senator colleagues on the PNM
front bench, from Avinash Singh to Daniel Dookie,
declined comment on the online video issue which
led to his departure. Several said it was under probe
and they could not comment.
Prior to the session, however, United National
Congress deputy leader Kadijah Ameen took the
PNM and Ali to task on the situation.
"Members of the Nur E Islam masjid to which he
belongs have spoken to me and said they are very
ashamed and upset. It was doubly upsetting since it
occurred in the month of Ramadan," Ameen said.
(See Page A5)
She said while the situation offered the
opportunity to warn youths about the danger of the
Internet, she felt PNM officials tried to display it
another way by claiming the situation resulted from
alleged blackmail or extortion.
Ameen added: "What is clear is that he was fired
or removed for misbehaviour in public office.
"While I trust his family will be able to endure
through the criticism and public scrutiny that comes
with this, it's a grim reminder for all, whether in
public office or not, not to engage in that type of
"In all my time of working with communities and
young people, we often speak about the dangers of
abuse of the Internet and improper use of social
"This situation underscores the consequences and
it's a very realistic situation for many people who
have private lives but it can affect their employment
and other opportunities."
If there is alleged extortion/blackmail as claimed, it
might not have happened if not for the inappropriate
behaviour so his action should be condemned.
"The consequences (abuse of social media) for
youths and women are a little different to that of
men. There are cases of women who faced
challenges in the workplace due to leaked video and
disputes with partners.
"But this case is different. No-one should engage in
sharing inappropriate material of themselves. Once
you send it out to one person, consider it published
to the world."
Real story will
come to light
Ali disheartened by response to online sex video...
for 14TH JUNE, 2016
A parliament employee places the new name plate for Senator Rohan Sinanan during
yesterday's Senate sitting. Sinanan, a People's National Movement deputy leader,
replaced Hafeez Ali, who resigned last week. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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