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Opposition Leader wants PM to be taken to Privileges Committee


Opposition Leader wants PM to be taken to Privileges Committee

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PORT OF SPAIN – A new session of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament began here on Friday with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar calling for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to be brought before the privileges of Parliament after he said he does knowingly associate himself with crooks except in the Parliament.

Rowley made the remarks during a radio interview on September 16 as he defended his relationship with the owner of an oil company at the centre of allegations that it had sought to defraud the state-owned oil company, PETROTRIN of millions of dollars.

“If there is wrongdoing identify the wrongdoing and hold people accountable, I don’t know that we should be overdoing it and I am not afraid of identifying the people I associate with because I do not knowingly associate with crooks except in the Parliament,” Rowley said. 

In tabling a motion before the Parliament on Friday, Persad Bissessar said that the statement by Rowley was uttered in a manner that could bring the House into odium and ridicule.

“Given the nature and character of the statements made and the subject matter upon which the Prime Minister . . . was commenting it is clear that the statements were made as a reflection upon the character and reputation of members.

“In the circumstances, Madam Speaker, I wish to submit that the Prime Minister and Member for Diego Martin West has committed a contempt by his actions and statements which have negatively reflected on the members of the House bringing them all into ridicule, odium . . .

“His actions have also brought indignity to the House of Representatives. I therefore request this matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges for its consideration”. 

There has been no ruling to date by the Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George.

The Parliament has been adjourned to Monday when Finance Minister Colm Imbert will present the 2018 national budget. (CMC)

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