Rowley to PM: Fire AG or else...
Tuesday, September 25 2012
OPPOSITION People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley on Sunday gave the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar an ultimatum to fire Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, over the Section 34 fiasco, or else be prepared for further public marches and protests organised by the PNM.
Speaking at a PNM meeting in Arima on Sunday, Rowley said given the AG’s handling of the Section 34 affair, Ramlogan should not be allowed to operate on behalf of the State in upcoming matters relating to the issue.
He then gave the Prime Minister a 48-hour deadline. “If by Wednesday (tomorrow) of this week, Anand Ramlogan is still the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, I’m asking the people of Trinidad and Tobago to stand by for further action.”
Rowley recently led a march from the Red House to the Office of the President where he presented a petition to Acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith calling for an in-depth investigation into the Section 34 scandal.
The fiasco surrounds moves by two UNC financiers — Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson — to seek their freedom from decades old fraud charges by citing Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, which allowed certain crimes to be dismissed if the case had languished in the courts for over ten years. That Act was later repealed during a special sitting of Parliament.
Rowley likened the Section 34 issue to that of the Watergate scandal which brought about the end to Richard Nixon’s term as President of the United States of America, when he resigned rather than to face the possibility of impeachment.
He also accused the PM of not answering the most important question surrounding the issue—Who authorised the amendments to Section 34, which were made in the Senate during debate? “Did the Attorney General do that drafting for that amendment, that substantially changed the law by changing what the Lower House passed and becoming something else what the Senate passed. Who made that change?” Rowley asked.
He also spoke of the Prime Minister’s attempt to exonerate Ramlogan by saying, in her address to the nation last week, that the AG was out of the country when the decision to proclaim Section 34 was taken. “But you know, it was Mr Manning (former PM and PNM leader Patrick Manning) who always used to tell us, whenever anything happens bad, look for the person who they said wasn’t there.”