PNM wants AG, Volney’s heads
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, September 16 2012
Although the legislation has since been repealed, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley will today announce the People’s National Movement’s (PNM’s) strategy for dealing with the Government’s recent decision to allow for the controversial proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, which could have seen businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson walk free on fraud charges relating to the Piarco Airport Development Project.
The strategy, planned against the backdrop of the party’s continued call for the resignations of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Justice Minister Herbert Volney in the wake of the proclamation of the controversial section, will be announced at a press conference at the Diego Martin Central MP’s office at the Pt Cumana Community Centre, PNM chairman Franklin Khan said yesterday.
Speaking during the PNM’s post-general council news conference at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain, at which the issue was fully ventilated, Khan shied away from giving details of the strategy, but revealed it will include “mass mobilisation.” He said, “I will just give you a heads up of his speech tomorrow (today) there. The political leader will announce in great detail at the constituency conference. He will announce the PNM’s response to this sordid affair — what response the party will take and get your marching shoes, ladies and gentlemen of the media.”
Khan insisted the PNM will “not sit idly by” while the issue remained unresolved.
“What we want to say here today is when we take this sordid affair and we stack it up against the increasing crime rate in the country, we stack it up against our dropping in the competitiveness index of the United Nations and, more importantly, our continuous decline in terms of the corruption perception index, ladies and gentlemen, under the People’s Partnership Government, Trinidad and Tobago is fast becoming a banana republic,” he said.
“He (Rowley) will announce in detail what the party plans to do, especially in the event that these two gentlemen do not resign or the Prime Minister does not remove them but there will be mass mobilisation.”
During the general council meeting, Khan said the PNM also passed a resolution in “vehement condemnation of the Government, relative to the breaches of specific undertakings given to the Parliament.” He said the resolution, in part, also called for the “immediate resignation” of Volney and Ramlogan.
The controversial section 34 of the legislation, which was repealed in both houses of Parliament last week, allowed for an application to be made for a case to be thrown out if more than ten years have passed since an offence and if a trial has not yet started.
As such, Galbaransingh and Ferguson could have walked free because of the legislation. (See pages 8A & 9A).
PNM public relations officer Faris Al Rawi lamented what he referred to as the proclamation of “stand alone legislation”.
He said, “It was a specific breach of direct undertakings given by the Government in the Parliament as to what was the law.” Al Rawi, a PNM senator, said the clause was proclaimed in “very curious, unanswered circumstances”.
“We have to be very careful that we always keep our eyes on that circumstance .... But the point is that there has been absolutely no explanation by anyone in the Government as to the questions put to the Government time and time again in the Lower House and in the Upper House.”