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KEITH ROWLEY

“Absolute hogwash!”

That was how Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley described the motion filed by the Opposition United National Congress (UNC) to remove President Paula-Mae Weekes from office.

On Friday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that her party had filed a motion under Section 36 of the Constitution for a tribunal to investigate the removal of President Paula-Mae Weekes from office.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister came to the President’s defence, asking for evidence that Weekes had acted improperly. He accused Persad-Bissessar of creating ‘confusion.’

Rowley said Persad-Bissessar has called for the removal of him, the President and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and had cast aspersions on High Court judge Nadia Kangaloo and Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

He asked those who had seen the Opposition’s press conference to answer one question: “What exactly has the President of Trinidad and Tobago done that warrants impeachment?”

Rowley described allegations of the President acting improperly with the Police Service Commission (PolSC) as general mischief-making.

“This question of independence, when they talk about independent commission and independent this and that, for the man in the street, that independence has in it, even in law, it has in it a certain level of interaction, there is no public entity that is cloistered into independence,” he said.

He said as part of his oath of office, he was mandated to report issues of concern to the President and has a good working relationship with the President, unlike former prime ministers.

“I go to the President’s House whenever I am required to be there because there is something I want to tell the President or there is something the President should know,” he said.

Rowley rubbished suggestions that hereveal what he discussed with the President, insisting there is no requirement in law for such disclosure.

He also denied Opposition claims that he had bullied the President into making a decision about the PolSC ,

On claims that he had met with the President and the PolSC, he said: “That is an absolute falsehood, no such meeting took place. And I will go further, I have never involved myself in any selection by the Police Service Commission of any list, I have seen no list, whether it is a substantive post or acting post, I have seen no list, all of that business of the State would be between the Police Service Commission and the President,” he said.

Creating confusion

Rowley labelled the Opposition as “imps, pimps and chimps” for their motion to remove the President and accused Persad-Bissessar of being unaware of the law.

Responding to claims that he was not supposed to communicate with the PolSC, the Prime Minister made a startling revelation. He said he had written to the Commission in 2020 to say he had lost confidence in then-Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

However, when asked why he lost confidence in Griffith, the Prime Minister was vague.

“My judgement,” he said.

Pressed further, he said: “Listen, there are things that I deal with publicly, and there are things I do not, I have now publicly stated that, that’s a year ago, I could have published that letter a year ago, I could have told that a year ago, I did not, I tell you now, if only because of the situation that exists in the country now.”

He said he only mentioned the letter to show the role he was supposed to have as Prime Minister with an independent body such as the PolSC.

Contacted for comment, Griffith said he was aware of the Prime Minister’s letter last year but had no intention of commenting on Rowley’s statements.

Responding yesterday, a source close to Griffith accused the Prime Minister of playing ‘God’ and losing confidence in Griffith because he wanted him to act on his direction.