3327876
File: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Attorney General interact during the lunch break at the sitting of Parliament.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called on citizens to ignore Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar and her team who are determined to get rid of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who has been going after those involved in white-collar crime.

Speaking at a political meeting in La Horquetta on Saturday, Rowley took supporters back to last Friday’s Budget debate which he stated the Opposition MPs and their leader had no intention of participating in.

“They had no interests…this was the Faris Budget because the Opposition has an obsession in trying to get rid of Faris. So they convert the whole Budget into Faris.”

The PM said the Opposition filed a motion hours after the Budget was read “they went and filed (a) motion of privileged that Faris say that Kamla family renting something to the Government. Rightly or wrongly Faris said that …but was that sufficient for them to abandon the budget?”

Rowley said Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal had his five minutes of fame when he got up and read out that Al-Rawi is the worse because he said that Persad-Bissessar and family had been renting somewhere.

Following Moonilal’s statement, Rowley said nine UNC MP refused to speak on the budget but was only hell-bent on bringing down the AG.

The PM said the Speaker called on Finance Minister Colm Imbert to then wind up the debate.

Five minutes later, Rowley said the UNC accused the Government of collapsing the debate.

“Absolutely distracted and lazy and worthless people.”

Addressing the virtual meeting, Rowley spoke about two-acre parcels of Caroni 1975 Ltd lands which ended up in the hands of its former employees “whether they wanted to farm or not” following a ruling by the court.

“And initially when that land was distributed there was a caveat on it…that if the land is to be disposed of you had to get permission to dispose of it.”

The PM said as soon as the UNC led administration assumed office in 2010 they removed that restriction “making every single parcel of land available to be sold.”

The lands, Rowley said were sold for business, land grabbing and housing.

Of the two-acre parcels that were handed out, Rowley said only 14 per cent are engaged in agricultural activities.

Those who got their hands on free land eventually sold it for exorbitant prices.

“All as high as $500,000 depending on where they are located.”

Rowley said all the UNC were interested in were themselves.

“Because a lot of people got their hands on state lands under very dubious circumstances…not about farming but about benefitting themselves. And that is one of the reasons why some of them want nothing to do with property tax…because property tax would identify fish from foul.”

He said the Opposition has been talking about property tax as if someone trying to cut your throat with a razor blade.

“But all them who talking they own property in Miami and Toronto and they first in line to pay it.”

The PM said the UNC has been against everything good for the country.

Rowley said people in the private sector who have the means to cooperate with the Government “all the UNC doing is denigrating them. If the President mentioned your name as somebody to serve on a commission somewhere and the UNC only get to find out…and they will find out because the President is required to consult the Opposition leader.”

Rather than answer Weekes, Rowley said Persad-Bissessar would go on a platform and discredit the person.

“You tell me one thing that has been advanced for the people of T&T that the UNC is supporting. And that is the predicament of the young people of La Horquetta, of Enterprise, of Tobago of Point Fortin because without the PNM all yuh dead. There will be nothing for you.”

In this difficult period, the PM said it would have been nice for the Opposition to buckle down and fix some of the problems facing our land.

“That is what they are doing because they set out to make life difficult. I can tell you there is a deliberate actionable agenda by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar group of imps, pimps and chimps to make this country a hell hole. I am sick and fed up of their behaviour.”

Involved in politics for 40 years, Rowley said he has never met a more disgraceful bunch of people in or out of Parliament.

“They believe they are entitled to office…they believe they are entitled to the treasury.”

After becoming PM in 2015, Rowley said he went to Barbados and was in the company of some golfing friends one of whom said a man wanted to see him about some money the T&T Government had owed him.

Rowley refused to meet the man.

A year later, Rowley said he was advised by the AG “that a foreign country was doing an investigation into a corrupt practice between the Government of T&T and its agents and a supplier of vessels to T&T. Those damning vessels that were bought election year, 2015. Somewhere in there, a finder’s fee of over $200 million was paid by the Dutch company to somebody who lived in a room in somebody house.

Rowley said what attracted the Dutch Government to it “was the size of the payment because they have certain restrictions as to how much you could pay.”

In Holland, Rowley said companies are allowed to pay between one and four per cent in a finder fee’s arrangement.

“This thing in Trinidad was almost 20 per cent that was paid. Not for the boats, you know….for the people who organised the deal. And then I have to be hearing the UNC telling me all the time procurement …procurement…procurement. They know exactly what they are talking about because that is exactly what they were doing. There is a criminal investigation on into that matter.”