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I DID NOT LIE

By Richardson Dhalai Thursday, May 9 2013

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Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC) councillor Alvin Lutchman yesterday swore on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita during a meeting of the corporation’s Public Health Committee and declared that, contrary to what his detractors were saying about him, he had not lied about the verbal abuse he had received from Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, after appearing on the re-election campaign platform of former Chaguanas West MP, Jack Warner last Sunday.

“People say I am lying but at today’s (Wednesday) meeting, I held up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, the same Bhagavad Gita that I used when I was sworn into office in 2010, and told my fellow colleagues that I am not lying about anything I spoke about at that meeting,” Lutchman, in a telephone interview with Newsday, said yesterday.

“I swore on the Bhagavad Gita that I spoke the truth and nothing but the truth,” he said adding that he left the meeting immediately after addressing his fellow councillors. The committee meeting, which is not open to members of the public or the media, was chaired by Hindustan / Indian Walk / St Mary’s councillor, Jules Vernon Downing, who offered a terse, “no comment” when contacted by telephone on the issue.

“I’m sorry but I have no comment, no comment, no comment,” Downing said. Lutchman, who represents the Lengua / St Julien electoral district, recalled that he had received a mixed reception upon entering the committee room with some of his fellow councillors offering a pleasant “good morning” while others ignored him.

The meeting had been scheduled to begin at 9.30 am.

“The meeting was going good until I started to make my contribution but when the chairman (of the committee) saw where I was going, he tried to stop me but I told him that under the standing orders, he is not allowed to stop a councillor from speaking so he permitted me to complete my statement,” Lutchman said.

Asked about his political future with the term of office due to expire on July 26, Lutchman said, “it doesn’t matter. I am still an elected member of council and I have been elected to serve my constituents and that is what I will continue to do. Everything else will be sorted out.”

Lutchman, 27, who described himself as a Warner loyalist, mounted the former MP’s re-election platform and took Rambachan to task for a telephone conversation he said they had on Saturday morning. Lutchman said he was verbally abused for openly showing his support for Warner.

According to Lutchman, during the telephone conversation, he was advised that he should not file nomination for the upcoming local government elections as he was “politically dead”.

Lutchman said he was told by the Minister that his last salary as a councillor would be on July 26.

On Sunday, Lutchman told the crowd at Felicity that he was also questioned about his attendance at Warner’s Straight Talk meeting in Felicity on April 25, and went on to describe the conversation as “disgusting, inappropriate and unethical.”

Explaining his decision to speak out against the local government minister, Lutchman said, “Let’s be logical, I can neither gain anything nor lose anything from going on the platform with Jack Warner. I know to myself I have spoken the truth , I could not just come out of the blue and say things like that. I have been a working councillor. This Minister ( Rambachan) was always complimenting me,” he said. Asked whether he was worried about not being selected to contest the upcoming local government elections he responded, “I know personally where my political direction leads, I clearly know what I have in my mind...I would allow them to speculate,”he said.

Lutchman maintains he always had a cordial relationship with Rambachan and believes the situation could have been handled in a more professional manner.

“You know what has me real baffled, I wasn’t the only councillor there but I was the only one targeted but I would leave it up to the individuals to say who they are.”

He said he continues to trust in God, and that his family is standing solidly behind him. He promised to serve his constituents until the council is dissolved for local government elections.

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