Confidence still in PP
By CECILY ASSON Tuesday, September 25 2012
click on pic to zoom in
SCOUTS FAMILY: Dr Michael Dowlath, Principal of the Naparima Boys' College sits with his wife Tisha and their son Joshua, eight, who is a member of th...
OUTSPOKEN member of the Congress of the People (COP) and Sports Minister Anil Roberts on Sunday defended the People’s Partnership Government saying that confidence in the administration is still there despite the fallout and discontent over the Section 34 debacle.
“People have not lost confidence in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar whatsoever. You walk on the ground...the people have confidence in the Honourable Prime Minister. In fact, they have more confidence,” Roberts said as he spoke to reporters prior to attending a pre-budget discussion at the private residence of Persad-Bissessar in SS Erin Road, Phillipine.
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 That Act was later repealed during a special sitting of Parliament.
Taking a jab at Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s challenge to the Prime Minister to call a general election early, in the wake of the controversial Section 34 issue, which led to the firing of Justice Minister Herbert Volney, Roberts said, “Rowley would like polls, they have a tabanca! There are no polls till whenever it is due at the end of November or December 2015.”
Roberts’ own party, the COP, has expressed concerns about the Section 34, with political leader Prakash Ramadhar publicly apologising for his role in the Act being passed in the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister on Sunday summoned her ministers to a pre-budget discussion at her private residence at SS Erin Road, in Phillipine and from as early as 1.30 pm, vehicles began arriving for the meeting which was scheduled to begin at 2.30 pm.
The meeting was attended by members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, chairmen and members of regional corporations, along with a wide cross-section of supporters of the People’s Partnership. Budget Day is next week Monday.
Among those seen arriving were Finance Minister Larry Howai, Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh and Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Stacy Roopnarine.
Roberts said the meeting was to give stakeholders an opportunity to have an input in the upcoming budget. “There is a budget coming up, so we ministers have had the opportunity to consult, negotiate and to put our positions forward. This is the wider area where the councillors, the people on the ground, the people in the programmes, they, too, could have their input before the document is read. It is all part and parcel of the consultative process,” Roberts said.
According to Roberts, the overall policy is to get growth back into the economy and create jobs. “I expect National Security to get a big chunk, also every ministry including mine will be attacking crime from every level,” he said.
Rambachan said following discussions with the Finance Minister, he believes his (Rambachan) ministry will be well treated. “I think we are going to focus on the main problems people face which is really local roads and drainage problems in particular,” Rambachan said.
Rambachan also opined that the population had not lost confidence in the PM and described the furore over Section 34 as, “a healthy debate” taking place in the country.