Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2013 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley will be
investigated by Parliament s Privileges
Committee for alleged contempt of Parlia-
ment in connection with the e-mails he
produced this week.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
yesterday made a request to have Rowley
sent before the Privileges team and Speaker
Wade Mark subsequently ruled that a prima
facie case of contempt had been made out
against the Opposition leader.
A three-day debate of Rowley s no-con-
fidence motion against Persad-Bissessar and
the Government ended with a drama-filled
final leg in the Parliament yesterday, when
Persad-Bissessar climaxed her contribution
on the motion by turning the tables on the
PNM and calling for Rowley to be sent to
the Privileges Committee.
Persad-Bissessar spoke at the end of the
debate, after Rowley s final submission yes-
terday. The Opposition, however, including
their supporters, all got up and walked out
of the Chamber when she rose to speak,
protesting her action.
People s Partnership MPs yelled after the
departing PNM: "Don t come back...Go!"
As a result of the walkout, the PNM was
not present to vote on its own motion against
the Government and its motion was defeated
via a vote of 26 PP members---including Her-
bert Volney---against it.
There was further drama later into Per-
sad-Bissessar s contribution when UNC
activist Patsy Lezama collapsed in the public
gallery (See Page A5).
Persad-Bissessar waded into Rowley, deny-
ing the PNM s allegations about the e-mails
Rowley had brought to the House and dis-
missing them a fabrication.
"It is a conspiracy of deception, but we
deny and refute all allegations about these
reprehensible e-mail scripts concocted by a
person or persons," she said.
"Oh, what a tangled web they weave when
they conspire to deceive.
"In all my years in Parliament I ve never
seen such a wanton abuse of Parliament. I
never thought it would come to this with
PNM. I ask Dr Rowley to do the right thing
having seen all these discrepancies and with-
draw his statements and tell the truth. Put
your office where your mouth is---tell us the
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley had moved
from his position on Monday about the e-
mails to "backing back" yesterday and asking
for the material to be investigated. She said
he had not taken ownership of the e-mails,
had not investigated it nor had he said if he
warned the people mentioned in them.
She said he had instead now pegged his
arguments on the e-mails on the contribution
of PP backbencher Herbert Volney, whom
Rowley had once criticised and said could
not be trusted.
"The Opposition leader is like a man hang-
ing from a cliff by his fingers and he has
Vaseline on his fingers," she said.
She said the language in the e-mails were
the language of a "raging bull" and a "wajang,"
adding it was either the e-mails were true
or bogus. If they were true, she said there
were penalties for hacking someone s e-mail,
and if they were bogus, there were penalties
for making public mischief. She said if it
turned out the probe ended up being about
Rowley, she trusted he would co-operate.
Persad-Bissessar, who pointed out further
discrepancies in the e-mails yesterday, said
she was ready to give up her Blackberry
phone to the police if they wanted to check
it. She said the Integrity Commission Act---
which she cited---did not give it jurisdiction
over the probe of criminal charges, as the e-
mails alleged. She said the only agency which
could cover this was the police, yet Rowley
had attacked the police s capability to handle
the matter. She said she was surprised an
experienced party leader and politician like
Rowley did not know this.
Persad-Bissessar said the police had a
cyber-crime unit and access to regional and
international partners to probe such mat-
The PM said Rowley had also scandalised
the office of the President by his statements
about that office in connection with the e-
mails. She said the past President had written
to her twice in December 2012 on the Section
34 issue and she replied to him in December
and January 2013.
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley recklessly
abused the freedom of speech in the House
"when, relying on this plainly fictitious/false
documents, he proceeded to level serious
allegations of serious/criminal wrongdoing
on the part of the Prime Minister and other
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From page A1
Earlier, in an impromptu interview with reporters,
Rowley said the motion, which questioned the con-
duct of the Prime Minister, required her to contribute
to the debate. He said in this debate, however, Per-
sad-Bissessar chose "not to enter the debate, and
when the debate is wound up by me, as I just did,
now she is going to lecture to us at her pleasure, and
we now have no opportunity to take issue with any-
thing she is saying."
In explaining the Opposition s walkout, he said:
"We don t have the time to stay to be lectured to."
Rowley said when the Government rushed to repeal
the controversial Section 34 of the Administration
of Justice Act 2011, in September last year, "The
Prime Minister did a very odd thing. She, as head
of the Government, never took part in the debate."
He said the walkout was a protest against Per-
sad-Bissessar s "unwillingness to allow her statement
to be examined by us in the Parliament. We gave
her the chamber to talk to herself."
And Opposition whip Marlene McDonald, who
also spoke with reporters after the walkout, said Per-
sad-Bissessar had a habit of always wanting to have
the last word in motions of no confidence against
"She wants what she has to say to remain unchal-
lenged in the Parliament, and we could not allow
that to happen," Mc Donald said.
She said the debate was important and Persad-
Bissessar "should have seen it as important to join
this debate and be scrutinised."
She said it was "on that basis of principle that we
The Opposition walkout came after Rowley insisted
in his winding-up that the Opposition would accept
nothing less than an independent investigation into
the alleged e-mails, noting that the police investigation
into the matter being carried out by Deputy Com-
missioner of Police Richardson was not acceptable.
"This Opposition will settle for nothing less than
an independent investigation of people (including
international experts)," Rowley said.
He said what the country could not countenance
was "people who are supposed to be the targets of
the allegation taking the position that they are inno-
cent. That s unacceptable."
Science and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith
asked Rowley at that point when he would be resign-
ing. Rowley said he did not resign "when I have done
my job well."
Rowley quoted a document from
http/askmettaflex.com to show that "it is possible
to have two distinct e-mail servers for two sets of
non-overlapping addresses for the same domain."
Before 2005, he said, Gmail had e-mail usernames
with fewer than six characters, and although that
changed in 2005, such addresses which existed before
that year still existed and were operational. New
Gmail accounts, he said, could not operate with user-
names with fewer than six characters.
"This matter is extremely technical, it is very spe-
cific," he said, "and I know the country can only be
well served if the proper investigators are asked to
Thursday, May 23, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Rowley to face
Talk to yourself
Chairman of the Integrity
Commission Kenneth Gordon
has asked us to make a
correction with regard to a
headline in yesterday's T&T
While Mr Gordon was
accurately quoted in the
report, he wishes it to be
made clear that he did not use
the word "horrifying," which
appeared in the headline.
Our apologies to Mr Gordon
for the erronous impression
conveyed by the headline.
GETTING IT RIGHT
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
makes a point during her response to the
no-confidence motion against her in
parliament yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS
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