(Trinidad and Tobago Guardian) People who speak out against the government are facing persecution from police, Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said Monday night in response to reports that police had arrested minority leader of the Tobago House of Assembly Watson Duke.
Speaking at the UNC Monday night forum, Moonilal said, ” At this moment they are questioning Watson Duke. Today or tomorrow he could face charges.”
He added that Duke was arrested for statements he made, hinting that the arrests were linked to possible sedition.
Saying people who opposed the government were being silenced, Moonilal said citizens must take notice of what was happening.
He also called for a full independent inquiry into the refurbishment works at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Tobago saying there were massive cost overruns. Saying project costs have jumped from $2 million to $20 million, Moonilal alleged that a private housing development was being built simultaneously with the Prime Minister’s project which was raising questions.
“They are building a highway leading to the PM residence in Tobago. I have also received information that materials seem to be going to the wrong site for construction – something earmarked for the PM residence ending up elsewhere – this is LANDATE II, ” Moonilal alleged.
He explained that under his tenure, Rowley wanted to quickly fix up the Prime Minister’s residence in Tobago and came with a $6 million proposal for refurbishment.
“I had rejected a UDECOTT proposal to refurbish that property for $6 million . They came to Parliament to approve $2 million for minor repairs, ” Moonilal recalled.
Saying questions must be answered, Moonilal said, “Today I want to ask Udecott what has happened to this $2 million project? This project has moved on – from $2 million to $9 million then to $18 million, now it is moving to $20 million and the contractors want more money!!”
Moonilal also called on government to explain on what grounds the contractor got the contract.
“Is it by competitive bidding or selective tendering or just sole selection? Is this the same company that was also involved on the Scarborough hospital project as a sub contractor? Is this the same company that received a $100 million contract to rebuild Skinner Park in San Fernando?”
He also questioned whether there was a Bacolet housing project going on.
Moonilal also lamented the government’s decision not to open the Couva Children’s hospital.
“They take a multi billion children’s hospital in couva and turn it into a drug store. Time is running out as the Prime Minister scrambles to save his government, ” he said.
He said the recent changes on the Boards of the companies which replaced Petrotrin was part of a deeper plan.
“The appointment of Michael Quamina , the personal attorney of the PM, several Ministers and major legal representative to several state companies is a most curious decision. I cast absolutely no aspersions on his legal acumen, professional conduct and right to represent any client. Today Quamina the lawyer of Rowley takes political control of the off shoot companies of Petrotrin, the TT Heritage Holding company and the Heritage Petroleum Company – he is now the gate keep of information, documents and records. He is the custodian of evidence in the AV drilling fake oil matter . There is an ongoing police investigation into this fake oil business. Michael Quamina is highly conflicted and must resign now as chairman of TT Heritage Petroleum Company Limited, ” Moonilal said.
He also called on government to stop selling the assets of the state.
“I call on this government in their remaining few months – to cease and desist from selling off any state assets at Petrotrin and those companies. Don’t even sell a bic ball point pen belonging to the people of T&T, ” he added.