Former government minister, Ralph Maraj, says it is critical that the United National Congress clear the air—very quickly—on allegations of its seeming relationship with Cambridge Analytica and the possibly illegal use of citizens’ private information for political purposes.
He believes the probe, which the national security minister signalled yesterday that government intends to launch, will answer several crucial questions.
“We need to get some hard facts as to exactly how this happened. Whether it was happening with any sinister intent. Were there monies being paid? Were people hired to do this? We need to know,” he says.
Ralph Maraj served as a government minister under both the PNM (in the 1990s) and the UNC (in the 2000s).
According to Mr Maraj, given the way the world is going, and the rapid advance of information technology, using civilian data in this way is inevitable, but may not be diabolical.
“We have got to accept the fact that in today’s age of information technology—and with technology changing all the time—you are going to have situations like this where political parties, commercial entities are seeking to persuade the electorate and the market in their direction, for their product,” Ralph Maraj observes. “In the final analysis, these political parties are selling a product—they’re selling their political product—and they are looking for the best ways to sell it.”
He adds: “I am not saying that it actually happened with the People’s Partnership Government. That’s why we need to get the probe going, to see what actually took place. But we should be wary of ascribing sinister and diabolical motives, until we get clarity and the hard facts on this issue.”
The former government minister points out that the allegations made in Christopher Wyllie’s book are quite serious, but he does not believe this issue will dominate the hustings for the 2020 General Election, unless the proposed probe unearths even more dastardly deeds.
Story by NEWS DESK