Monday, February 4, 2013

Commentary: Rowley must apologise and resign

Keith Rowley and the People's National Movement owe Justice Rolston Nelson and the country an apology. 

They told the nation that they consulted the CCJ Judge and he consented to have them put his name forward as a consensus candidate for the post of President of Trinidad and Tobago.

It turns out they did not speak to the gentleman or get his permission.

According to media reports, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said he spoke with Nelson and discovered that the judge is in the dark about the matter. 

"I have spoken personally to Justice Nelson and he has conveyed to me his shock and surprise over the fact that the PNM has taken the liberty to put forward his name as the PNM’s nominee for the Office of President," the Express quoted the AG as saying.

"The learned judge indicated that this was done without his knowledge, consent or permission and there was no prior consultation far less discussion with him about his name being proposed as the PNM’s candidate," he added.

Ramlogan said the PNM has "tainted and compromised the selection of someone who would otherwise be eminently qualified for consideration."

This whole episode speaks volumes about the state of politics in our country. If a party that should be a government in waiting can be so dishonest in its dealings with such an important matter can we trust anything they say?

It is not the first time. Rowley accused the Attorney General of racism, stating emphatically that Anand Ramlogan went to New York and enquired about the ethnicity of the staff at the T&T consulate there. It turns out that it was a lie; Ramlogan was never there and staff reported that they never had such a conversation with the leader of the People's National Movement.

But Rowley kept up his lie, eventually conceding that he was wrong. There are too many other episodes of the leader of the Opposition twisting the truth and telling outright stories that are fiction.

What is most disturbing about it is that the public and the media seem content to let Rowley get away with it. I shudder to think of the reaction to these stories if the same were true of politicians of another stripe.

A lie is a lie no matter how you spin it. It seems that Rowley and the PNM lied in their attempt to score political points and gain an upper hand on the government on this very important issue.

The government has acted responsibly in the matter of the presidency, as one would expect; the PNM has not. In fact its record on this is shameful.

Rowley needs to do more than apologise. He should resign as Opposition Leader. And if he fails to do so then the sitting president ought to fire him. But can we really expect that? 

The problem is this: even if the president is convinced that Rowley has misbehaved in office or has demonstrated a lack of integrity by telling lies and misleading citizens, the Leader of the Opposition is protected by the constitution, which allows him to hold office so long as in the judgment of the President, he commands the support of a majority of those members of the House of Representatives who do not support the Government.

Jai Parasram

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai