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Rowley to PM: Remove the AG

By JULIEN NEAVES Tuesday, February 18 2014

IN all his years in Parliament, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, cannot recall a “more disgraceful situation” than Attorney General Anand Ramlogan’s “ex-girlfriend” comments to Opposition MP Terrence Deyalsingh.

“I call on the Prime Minister not just to rein him in, but to save us the continual embarrassment, and remove him. The AG is a disgrace to the people of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

He was speaking yesterday at a media conference held at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Charles Street, Port-of-Spain.

Rowley and the party have called for the firing of Ramlogan over his behaviour, regarding the Dog Control Bill in Parliament on Friday last. He said that Ramlogan misrepresented to the House that he had consulted with veterinarians over the bill, but the Veterinary Association in response presented views that are “diametrically opposed” to the bill. The Association has also stated that they have not been trained, are not disposed to, and will not certify the breeds of dogs as stated in the bill.

He also noted that animal behaviouralist, Kristel Ramnath, had her professional integrity compromised when the Attorney General included her as supporting the legislation. Ramnath wrote to Ramlogan and the Opposition objecting to her being quoted in his statements, distancing herself from the legislation, and calling for an apology for his “reprehensible conduct”.

Rowley said the Attorney General faced documentation to Parliament of his misrepresentations, he tried to distract the population and make it a joking matter by accusing Ramnath of being the ex-girlfriend of Deyalsingh, who had presented the documents in Parliament.

The Bill was passed in the Lower House after the Opposition Bench walked out, but Rowley said they will oppose it in the Senate, and called on the Independent Bench to support their position to “throw the Bill out of Parliament”. He noted that even if the Bill is passed in the Senate, and proclaimed the vets will not certify the breeds. Continuing on the Attorney General he also criticised his choice of a communication specialist, Sherry Ann Lawrence, for the 23rd Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in Washington, DC, United States, next month. Rowley said this was another “Reshmi Ramnarine” issue, the junior staff member who had been appointed head of the Security Intelligence Agency.

Ramlogan, however, had defended the choice noting that Lawrence has a BA in communications studies, international relations and HR management, and has been working with the international human rights department in preparation for the conference.

At the briefing he also commented on the report on Friday by Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray that Government had allowed a payment of approximately $10 million for three years for a property on Tragarete Road, that was acquired as a rental unit to house public servants.

He noted that in 2009 the then People’s National Movement administration entered into a contract for the lease of the building. He said the current administration attempted to occupy the building, but no contract was awarded to outfit the building because a certain official, he claimed, wanted to choose their contractor under “dubious arrangements”.

He said Government could have discontinued the lease at minimal costs or occupied the building, but they have chosen to do neither, and instead ,wasted taxpayers’ monies. He also slammed Government for not completing the Government Campus on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain because they have taken the position that it was built by the PNM, and made an election issue out of the “too tall” buildings.

He also commented on the possible re-appointment of Justice Sebastian Ventour to the Integrity Commission; Ventour had quit to deliver three outstanding High Court judgments. He noted that the Opposition would have to be consulted by the President, prior to any appointment.

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