Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley speaking at the public meeting on Friday night. (CMC)
PORT OF SPAIN – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has linked opposition operatives to a plot to assassinate Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and warned the population of Trinidad and Tobago that they should not consider the threats to be a joke.
“We have told this country that many of them stole public money and will be held to account. We have been accumulating the evidence through the legal channels and they know that and that’s why one of the first meetings I have had in Whitehall (Office of the Prime Minister) in recent times with the security forces of this country involved is to determine how to protect the Attorney General because persons have paid money to kill him,” Rowley told a public meeting of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) here on Friday night.
“Understand what we are dealing with in this country. I tell you this not because I am being irresponsible, because I want you to know (and) you can’t say you don’t know. I want you to know because I am the Chairman of the National Security Council,” Rowley added.
He reminded supporters of the June 1990 murder of then attorney general Selwyn Richardson, who was shot by unknown assailants as he was entering his driveway to his home, adding “those of you who think it is a joke, let me remind all of you that somebody, somewhere in this country, killed Selwyn Richardson and up to this day that matter has not been solved”.
“Let me tell all of you again, who have much to say, desperate people do desperate things,” Rowley said, reminding the meeting of the two attempts that had been made on his life in the lead up to the 2015 general elections.
“On two occasions they hired a killer to kill me. The first killer refused and determined that somebody has to know this and went and told a government official. The government official came and told us. We told the police.
“While we dealing with that they went and found another one. He too refused and by this time Special Branch (of the police) was involved and Special Branch knew about it. There’s honour among thieves in this country. It appears there’s honour among killers too,” Rowley said.
He said that apart from the police, he also had to secure private security and in some instances were being told where he should and should not go because of the dangers involved.
“That happened in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015 and they know what they did and they know what they are facing because we have told this country that many of them stole public money and will be held to account,” Rowley said.
He warned supporters against “all of them who have your future in hand to bring you this land of milk and honey they have reason to want to get back in office more than anybody else, because only when they get back into office they can kill everything that is live now and that is their primary motivation . . . .”
Earlier, National Security Minister, Stuart Young, told the public meeting of the “disturbing” pattern being observed involving known members of the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) and the members of the criminal underworld.
Young, indicating that he was coming out of the Parliament where he could have been afforded parliamentary immunity to make the statement, said that he had been informed that “very high ranking members of the opposition, the UNC opposition, at the highest, highest levels . . . are engaging in active conversations and communication . . . with the criminal elements in our society.
“You know that in National Security one of the things we did was to pass anti-gang legislation and you remember how hard we had to fight for that to make it a crime in Trinidad and Tobago to be part of a gang and to participate in gang activities. So it is now criminal to be part of a gang, to communicate with gangs . . . that is now a crime in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I stand here tonight without fear of contradiction to tell you that at the highest level of the opposition they are engaging the criminal elements,” Young, who is also an attorney said, pointing a finger also at sitting opposition members of both houses of Parliament. (CMC)