|Moonilal: We know lobbyist, he likes goat roti |
Wednesday, March 15 2017
OROPOUCHE MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is claiming that the lobbyist retained by Government to seek its interests in the United States had previously offered his services, over a meal of dhalphourie (roti) and goat, to the Peoples Partnership when it was in government. The offer, however, was denied.
Moonilal was speaking at the United National Congress’ Monday Night Forum at the Preysal High School. He called for an independent inquiry into the “goat roti man.” Last week, Prime Minister Dr.
Keith Rowley confirmed that The Group DC, headed by Arthur Collins, was retained as a lobbyist.
Moonilal told the audience, “We met the fella in Cunupia, right here. We went in somebody garage. All I could remember with this fella is he like dalphourie roti and goat. The fella eat dhalpourie and goat like hell. When he left, he take some home too.” Moonilal said although Collins was “a nice fella”, his services were denied. “We said this is nice, but we really don’t have that kind of money, you know, for this thing.
And quite frankly we thought his services could be provided by local people.” Moonilal said this country did not need lobbyists because it has embassies throughout the world since it gained independence in 1962. And because ministers are charged with the responsibility of advancing their mandate at home and abroad, lobbyists are even more unnecessary.
They’re only needed, he said, to deal with specific problems.
“Patrick Manning hired a lobbyist when we had a problem with the steel industry and our access to the US market, it was a single issue.” Moonilal said the former government later discovered that Collins “might be connected to the PNM” and posed a series of questions to the prime minister.
“Tonight we ask Keith Rowley, did Arthur Collins work for the PNM in the build-up to the general elections in 2015? Did he work for you? And when he work for you, did you pay him or did you promise him that if and when you got into power, you will pay him with a kickback contract as a lobbyist for T&T?” Moonilal waved for the cheering crowd a paper he said was “the contract for the goat roti man” and made a call for an independent inquiry into the hiring of Collins.
This was needed, he said, because for general elections, “political hustlers” from all over the world approach governments to offer their help to win elections.
“Now I not saying Arthur Collins is a hustler, eh.
“I saying you have hustlers coming, and everybody come they want to help you win, they want to do something. But you think they doing it for free? They not doing nothing for free.” Moonilal said it was a scandal of “immense proportions” that the government spent “$18 million” on a lobbyist while crime continues to spiral out of control and the construction of the Ramai Trace Hindu School is not yet completed.