Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, July 15, 2013
Political leader of the Movement for Social Jus-
tice (MSJ) David Abdulah yesterday referred to
the upcoming by-election in Chaguanas West as
a "falling out of thieves."
Abdulah was speaking at a MSJ press conference
at the Communications Workers Union Hall on
Henry Street, Port-of-Spain.
"We are saying categorically that what is hap-
pening in Chaguanas West is a case of the thieves
falling out amongst themselves," he said.
"There is an old saying that when tief tief from
tief god laughs. Sadly, in this situation it is not a
situation of somebody stealing from private money;
it is a matter of allegations and accusations about
who has been stealing from the public purse," he
Abudlah added that the Chaguanas West by-
election was an "internal battle within the UNC."
He said the Government and former government
ministers are using "insider information" in a series
of smear campaigns.
This is why the MSJ, he added, has opted not
to participate in the by-election and will focus on
local government elections later this year.
The accusations of corruption made by the can-
didates as well as by Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar were directly linked to issues of poor
governance in T&T, Abdulah said.
"The fundamental crisis of governance in our
country is why we walked away and this is the
issue of corruption is manifesting itself in Chagua-
nas West," he said.
"It is also manifesting in the failure of authorities
to go after people who are not paying taxes and
He added that there were "elements" in both
the Government and the Opposition who did not
want strong public procurement legislation. Abdu-
lah was a member of the Joint Select Committee
"If we had a strong regulation then issues arising
now in public domain would not be taking
place...The root of all evil in government is money
and corruption," he said.
He added that there was approximately $10-15
billion annually in uncollected taxes, which were
primarily unpaid by "business people."
He said the main offenders were businesses
supporting political parties.(ZG)
By- l t
ll - ut
Political leader of the Movement for
Social Justice, David Abdulah, said yes-
terday that he is aware of Government
ministers who threaten to withdraw
advertisements from media houses in
an attempt to punish them.
Abdulah was speaking at a press con-
ference at the Communications Workers
Union Hall on Henry Street in Port-of-
Abdulah said he heard "with his own
ears" Government ministers speak at a
June 2011 People s Partnership caucus
in Tobago about using the State adver-
tising budget to "penalise media that
they believe are being unfair to them."
On Thursday, the MSJ released a
statement in support of Guardian Media
Ltd journalists who had resigned citing
political interference in the daily oper-
ations of the paper. Abdulah did not
name the ministers whom he heard
make such statements and said he would
do so at a later date.
Asked why he chose not to name the
ministers, Abdulah said, "I don t think
its necessary for me to name names.
It s not about personalities, what I m
pointing to is ministers making state-
ments as a matter of their political
approach to deal with issues and the
political culture and behaviours of the
PP Government which are wrong and
He added, "We want to say categor-
ically and without fear of contradiction
that the approach of the PP government
has been one of using the State adver-
tising budget as a means of exerting
power over the media."
However, Abdulah did say that the
ministers in question were "members
of the cabal." Questioned further, he
said, "Ask Mr (Jack) Warner who the
members of the cabal are."
Abdulah said the MSJ made its state-
ments based on reports from the Media
Association of T&T (Matt) and indi-
vidual journalists. On Wednesday, for-
mer Guardian public affairs editor Dr
Sheila Rampersad and investigative
reporters Anika Gumbs-Sandiford and
Denyse Renne walked off the job and
tendered their resignations amidst
reports of political interference in the
The Matt released a statement fol-
lowing the walkout saying the organ-
isation was "monitoring with serious
concern the developing crisis at the
Guardian Newspapers that [is] reportedly
stems from political pressure, to soften
the newspaper s editorial and investiga-
tive line." The Matt has since released
another statement on Saturday retract-
ing their original comments on the issue.
Abdulah said it was not uncommon
for governments in T&T to attempt to
influence the media as it was part of
the local political culture
l A ul s s t u st s
t s t t
C u t s ll, t- - ,
y st y. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
MSJ head: PP uses
ads to threaten
C ut y t st s ( l t) s , t y, s t t t, ' A ' t t t t
t l, B A B ul , tu y t. PHOTO: DARREN RAMPERSAD
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