Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 8th 2013 Contents interview
www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2013
with Clevon Raphael
Q: Dr Moonilal, the Peo-
ple s Partnership admin-
istration is facing its
darkest hour at this time....right
A: (Quickly reflecting on the
What argument do you propose
to counter that proposition?
(Seated in the porch of a house at
the Housing Development Corpo-
ration estate in Debe, south Trinidad,
early Wednesday morning) The Gov-
ernment is in midterm and at this
time all governments have challenges
dealing with people s interest issues.
And as you settle down in office
there are different groups which will
be demanding various goods and
services which not all would get.
Governments do face unpopularity
at this time, but this is certainly not
a dark hour as such.
Even though the regime is in
midterm syndrome, there is also a
constant stream of criticisms
against the Government---the recent
event in Chaguanas West and the
spectre of Jack Warner s ILP.
One of the challenges the Gov-
ernment has faced, probably from
day one, is the marketing of its
achievements. I think the national
community is not adequately aware
of these achievements.
How could this be so when the
technology is there and easily
Ok. It is a problem of culture in
that many ministers, including
myself sometimes, you know, we are
so busy working that we don t stop
to promote those positives...
Yes, in that not all of us are eager
to be in the media because we have
lem of communicating, and when
we entered office several of our
detractors were claiming we were
arguing and showing off about our
good work. Because of that we went
into a lull, stopped boasting and did
not sufficiently highlight our work.
Any examples of this fallout cre-
ated by ceasing to blow your trum-
Yes. For example (an animated
sweep of his hands over the housing
settlement), in this area you are see-
ing houses being constructed, heavy
construction machinery, a new high-
way, the southern campus of the
UWI taking shape....
Wait, wait. Is this the reason why
you decided to do this interview in
your constituency...to boast about
some of your achievements?
No. I brought you way down here
so that you can get away from the
hustle of city life. Look, I am sure
you are enjoying the soothing breeze
at this time of the day. (A broad
And I am highlighting achieve-
ments because it is only now citizens
as a whole are seeing our achieve-
I do hope you are not seeing this
as any PR thing?
Of course not. But a lot is being
done. In my ministry alone, Clevon,
when you think of it, two hospitals
we are building: a children s hospital
and Chancery Lane in San Fernando.
Which government has built two
such institutions in just five years?
The children s hospital...isn t
there some kind of duplication
because of the Wendy Fitzwilliam
Children s Hospital at Mt Hope?
The facility being built in central
Trinidad is a much more compre-
hensive hospital in that adults would
also be accommodated.
Then we have the Mayaro fire sta-
tion, which was promised since 1965
by the country s first prime minister
Dr Eric Williams, now being built.
Ok, Mr Minister, please do not
go off on a campaign tangent
Ok, I take note of your caution (A
heavy chuckle). But I was merely
informing you of the achievements
which we were not talking enough
about. But you could have your way.
Ok. Corruption. There is this
nagging accusation from some of
your detractors that this Govern-
ment is the most corrupt in the
country s history.
(Scooping up a piece of sada with
baigan and tomato choka, part of
his breakfast menu, with his fingers)
Clevon, I find that to be a very, very
strange and terrible conclusion,
because in the three years that we
have been in office not one member
of the Government, not one, has
been arrested or charged, not one
piece of evidence tendered to the
police or the DPP to suggest corrupt
So then what s responsible for
this repeated accusation?
What has happened, Clevon, is
that the society has become more
corruption-sensitive and this is so
because of the advent of widespread
mass media, and once you have
expansion in economic activities you
spend more money and once you
do that there is more concern for
So in a strange way it is the eco-
nomic growth that also generates
corruption allegations. People talk
a lot about corruption but ask any-
body to bring the evidence. In fact
the green man is doing just
that...who used to be a member of
Dr Moonilal, how could you refer
to the honourable Member of Par-
liament for Chaguanas West as the
The leader of the... former min-
ister of national security...who is
now talking corruption came before
me and others, the UNC s screening
committee, and asked to represent
our party in the Chaguanas West
He is now talking about how many
ministers built houses, who buy cars,
who have this, who have that...no
Dr Moonilal, can you personally
vouch for the clean hands of your
fellow Cabinet colleagues?
Surely, Clevon, of course I am not
in every ministry in the country, I
am not in their hands. I work in my
ministry and you cannot vouch. But
what I can say is that the way I look
at it is that the Government has per-
formed at a level of transparency
and accountability that is unparal-
In the three-and-a-half years of its five-year term
no concrete evidence has been taken to the police
or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on
allegations of corruption against any member of
the People's Partnership Government.
So declares Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal in
defending a claim by PP detractors that this is the
most corrupt government in the history of T&T. He
claims the regime is in the midst of its midterm
Moonilal is also taking issue with the leader of the
Independent Liberal Party, former national security
minister Jack Warner.
• Continues on Page A11
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