The issue of stranded nationals reached the British House of Commons on Monday via statements by British MP Steven Baker whom UNC MP Roodal Moonilal thanked for raising the issue.
“It was shame and disgrace for a British MP to have to raise in the UK Parliament, this issue for our citizens,” Moonilal said in yesterday’s 2021 Budget debate in Parliament.
Baker (Government MP for Wycombe) had urged fellow British MPs to call on Trinidad and Tobago to ensure its government get its citizens back home.
Moonilal expressed gratitude to Baker for humanitarian work and “for his grave concern and sense of justice in raising the plight of stranded citizens whom Moonilal said were “crying blood” to get home.” He said Government should have established a multipartite team to enable the most disadvantaged to return speedily.
Moonilal also slammed Government for cutting the police service’s allocation by $181m.
He warned, “All will not be well in coming days as a result.”
He said citizens would be fearful at a time when home invasions are increasing and culprits would become more emboldened to commit crimes since they’d think the police couldn’t operate.
“ No one who was a victim, whose home was burgled or someone who was raped can expect with certainty that the criminals will be arrested after this police allocation was cut; we’re returning to the days when you call police for help, they have to call a taxi to get to you!”
“In Guapo Police Station, if a man have to bathe, you have to put on siren and carry him to a next station to bathe… police asking businessmen to donate water, paper, photocopying machine!”
Moonilal said while Government was disinvesting in the police, they were privatising it.
He cited a July 2002 Cabinet note ratifying approval of $66m for a team of UK expert Edmunds, Marshall, McMahon, Open Text Ltd and Price Waterhouse Coopers Advisory Services Ltd. Moonilal said that team had written the DPP that they were hired to go after former PP Ministers.
Moonilal said it was wrong of Prime Minister Keith Rowley to have approved the $66m to pay for the UK based “Mongoose gang (sic)” to persecute political opponents when Government cut TTPS funds
”People might say I have cocoa in the sun- but I’m no cocoa farmer,” Moonilal added.
He called for a probe into the “white coat, white-collar crime Mongoose gang” which he said received $15m in 2019 alone.
Moonilal also chastised Government for a March 2017 Finance Ministry circular which allowed Rowley an executive travel grant for 450 UK pounds (for Europe travel or (US)$450 for US or other places. Moonilal queried why the 2017 circular was backdated to 2016, a time when he said Rowley was travelling to the UK, Ghana, Jamaica and other places. He said it was shameless and scandalous to have such an allowance when the economy was bad.
Moonilal said there are contractors among PNM MPs who are involved in works and housing, “This term there will be recusal after recusal after recusal (from Cabinet) as there are businessmen MPs among the PNM.”