Trinidad and Tobago: Opposition Political Party United National Congress again made a blunt statement and lambasted Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley and stated that Rowley tried to deflect hard from the Special Branch report, which allegedly noted that Minister Foster Cummings has had relationships with a reputed drug dealer, improperly used his influence to gain contracts, and whose companies have been illegally occupying state lands.
UNC exclaimed that Rowley’s deflections included sexually harassing the Leader of Opposition at that publicly-funded media briefing. He made the most distasteful public remarks about her intimate nightwear to try to humiliate and intimidate her with irrelevant sexual references.
“This is not the first time this has happened. And it is not the first time that the multitude of women’s groups in society has remained eerily silent. Persad-Bissessar has shattered so many glass ceilings for all the women of Trinidad and Tobago – the first woman Attorney General, first woman leader of a Parliamentary party, the first woman Prime Minister, the first woman to Chair the Commonwealth as a sitting Head of Government.
A woman who has achieved, so many historical breakthroughs by herself certainly has the strength to rise above this continuous sexist verbal abuse by our tasteless Prime Minister,” underlined UNC.
UNC said that it is disgraceful, however, that our normally vocal women’s advocacy groups enable Keith Rowley’s sexism through their silence.
Another attempt at deflection has been Keith Rowley’s claim that the UNC “make as many allegations as they want against the Prime Minister and any number of ministers, and create this callaloo of corruption… (to suggest) ‘all ah we tief’.”
It further underscored that Keith Rowley should well remember that “All Ah We Tief” is a PNM slogan, which they created and own – lock, stock and barrel.
UNC said that tt was Desmond Cartey, MP for Laventille and Minister of Housing and Resettlement who coined the phrase “all ah we tief” during the 1986 election campaign. At the time, he responded to a heckler at a public meeting in his constituency, “Who ent tief in Trinidad? All ah we tief!”
“That was the PNM response when they were finally being held to account for their 3 decades of corruption from 1956-86. However, that is not true at all. We must never forget the PNM’s long history of corruption,” it further added.
From Independence and even in colonial times, the PNM have been involved in scandal after scandal. There was the gas station racket, the procurement of BWIA aircraft, Lock Joint in Port of Spain, Point Lisas contracts, Trinidad Tesoro, the Caroni Racetrack, the EC-0 scheme, the Hall of Justice, the Mount Hope Complex, the Twin Towers Financial Complex, the DC9 scandal, Severn Trent, Calder Hart and the POS Waterfront, the Prophetess Pena, and of course the famous case of O’Hallaran.
Things reached to such an extreme extent that the Wall Street Journal of March 12, 1987 published US court testimony which implicated former Prime Minister Chambers in a back-room deal with the American Tesoro oil company, involving Chambers with a blonde prostitute.
Bob Lindquist was the lead investigator on corruption during those years. He had this to say about John O’Halloran, who was a key figure in history of PNM corruption, and from whom millions of dollars were successfully retrieved by orders of courts in Canada, where O’Halloran fled:
“O’Halloran’s clout in Trinidad lay in the sway he seemed to hold over a man named Eric Williams… Williams appointed his man to a series of powerful patronage positions. From his insider vantage point, Johnny O took his slice, his 10%, his skim off the top, in oil, construction and in horse racing. And almost everybody in Trinidad knew it. But nobody could do anything about it.