Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 4th 2013 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
POST YOUR VIEWS ON ANY OF TODAY'S STORIES @ WWW.GUARDIAN.CO.TT
Thursday, July 4, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Committee of Privileges
of the House of Representa-
tives, after eight meetings,
failed to prove that Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley was
guilty of contempt as was
claimed by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar when
she moved a matter of privilege
against him on May 22.
The report of the committee
was presented to the House of
Representatives by the Leader
of Government Business, Hous-
ing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal,
The report said the committee
found itself "in an unusual place
in terms of proceedings."
The report said Rowley, in a
letter to the committee on June
25, "informed the committee
that he was not prepared to
answer any further questions
from the members of the com-
mittee on statements made by
him in the House."
Rowley was referred to the
committee because of state-
ments he made while presenting
a motion of no confidence in
the PM for debate on May 20.
The committee said based on
Rowley s letter, it felt Rowley
"indicated his unwillingness to
further present himself to the
Committee of Privileges to assist
the committee in its delibera-
The report further stated that
on the "sole occasion" Rowley
presented himself for examina-
tion, "only three members were
able to question him."
The report did not name the
three members but stated that
none of the other members who
were prepared to ask him ques-
tions was able to do so because
of time limitations.
"Several members, therefore,
remain unclear as to the number
of issues related to the matter
referred to the committee," the
It said members were
"desirous of seeking clarifica-
tion" from Rowley "when he
appeared before the commit-
The report said based on his
June 25 letter to the committee,
"it was clear" that the Opposi-
tion Leader "had a conceptual
difficulty in that the member
was not being requested to
appear before the committee to
launch a defence but merely
to assist the committee."
It ended: "In those circum-
stances and given the adamant
views of the Leader of the
Opposition, the committee
wishes to report to the House
on the status of its work and
advise that the matter remains
In presenting the matter for
the approval of the Speaker on
May 22, Persad-Bissessar said
Rowley was in contempt of the
Parliament on two grounds:
He deliberately and willfully
misled the House
He recklessly abused the
privilege of freedom of speech
in the House, thereby bringing
the House into public ridicule
Persad-Bissessar said that was
based on Rowley s presentation
of 31 e-mails, which were alleged
to have been conversation
among the PM, Attorney Gen-
eral Anand Ramlogan and other
The e-mails spoke about
alleged attempts to intimidate a
T&T Guardian reporter who
reported exclusively last Sep-
tember about the early procla-
mation of part of the Admin-
istration of Justice (Indictable
Proceedings) Bill 2011.
Moments after the PM pre-
sented her motion of privilege,
House Speaker Wade Mark ruled
that a prima facie case had been
made out and referred the mat-
ter to the committee.
The matter is expected to
lapse as the Parliament is to be
prorogued at midnight on July
Privileges Committee's report on Rowley:
Members left 'unclear'
after eight meetings
Prime Minister Kamla
flanked by Prime
Minister of Barbados
Freundel Stuart, left, and
Skerrit at the opening of
the Caricom Summit in
the Diplomatic Centre, St
Ann's, last night.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
"Were adequate particulars of what he was
guilty of given to him and was the committee
itself properly constituted in terms of bias or
apparent bias?" Al-Rawi asked.
He said a tenet of the country s law provided
that allegations be presented to accused persons.
He said sitting members on the committee were
found, based on the Hansard records, to have
come to conclusions of guilt against Rowley before
the motion of privilege was moved.
He said those points were given for the com-
mittee s consideration and the committee was
directed to the law which stated that a committee,
in considering a circumstance, must be devoid
of bias as well as apparent bias.
Al-Rawi said Rowley was "very specific in his
response," indicating his willingness to assist the
committee. The report, however, said Rowley
"informed the committee he was not prepared
to answer any further questions from the members
of the committee on statements made to him by
"Well that s in fact not true," Al-Rawi said of
that aspect of the report.
He said the report also left out the rest of Row-
ley s statements, which said he would be prepared
to answer every position put to him provided that
the particulars were given to him and that the
issue of the bias of the members was dealt with.
Colm Imbert, who spoke on behalf of the Oppo-
sition members on the Privileges Committee, said
that was the main reason the report was incom-
plete and they could go no further.
"In other words, this matter is now dead,"
Imbert said Pt Fortin MP Paula Gopee-Scoon,
Laventille/East MP Donna Cox and himself also
did not sign the report.
Imbert said although they agreed with the
essence of the report s conclusion, the PNM mem-
bers were uncomfortable with the way it treated
with Rowley s approach to giving evidence and
co-operating with the committee.
Imbert said the police investigation on the mat-
ter should have been completed before "a com-
mittee of this nature looks into a matter like this."
He said the committee was in no position to do
any investigations into the validity of the e-mails.
He said all the people mentioned in the e-mail
documents should also have appeared as witnesses
before the committee and that request was not
Continues from Page A1
is now dead
PRIME MINISTERS MEET
Links Archive July 3rd 2013 July 5th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page