|Roodal Moonilal (Newsday photo)|
On Tuesday night Maharaj shared a platform with Rowley to criticise the government for its plans to give soldiers powers of arrest. Just weeks before, Rowley had stated in public that he believes he and Maharaj could "save" the country and last week Rowley hired Maharaj as his lawyer in a defamation lawsuit.
Feature: Changing political tune - Rowley and Ramesh
All that led Moonilal to throw picong Rowley's way, describing the new alliance as "RAMLEY".
Moonilal reminded Rowley of comments the Opposition Leader made in Parliament about Maharaj:
"I remember my friend, the Member for Diego Martin West, in 2007 when he said, ‘If that gentleman (Maharaj) coming in my direction, I turn around and walk.’ And today they backing into each other! And when I saw the photograph on the paper Mr Speaker, they look very close and chummy,” Moonilal said as he urged Rowley to get even close to Maharaj.
“I want to encourage my friend from Diego Martin West to please keep that company...It will help the Government," Moonilal added.
Moonilal quoted from the Hansard of May 21, 2007, when Rowley spoke about Maharaj, “I do not trust him as far as I can throw him.”
Here's what Moonilal read from the Hansard:
“If they believe that accusing us of corruption will improve their political fortunes because their government fell on corruption, in this PNM Government we have no Ramesh, we have no Ralph, we have no Sudama and there is no cause for any person like that to collapse the Government. We do not have that. Three of their Cabinet colleagues walked out of their government. We are not opportunists you know, Mr Speaker, and I will give you an example...
"When they were about to implode, I was in Tobago and got a call from a high-ranking UNC official who told me that Ramesh wants to talk to me because he wants to bring the government down. I said: ‘Talk to me? I will not speak to
Ramesh.’ If he wants to talk to the PNM, it has a leader, it has a party headquarters and he can go there because I will not speak to him...The next thing I knew, I saw him in certain situations and clearly I knew he spoke to people, not to me because I do not trust him as far as I can throw him.”
Rowley demanded an opportunity to respond but when the Speaker eventually agreed the PNM leader declined, allowing Laventille East MP Donna Cox to speak.
She noted that on the government side there are people who had their political differences and have worked together. He mentioned Winston Dookeran who left the leadership of the UNC and formed a new party.