Moonilal: People who speak out are being persecuted by police

Oropouch East Mp Dr Roodal Moonilal speaking during UNC meeting a the Debe Secondary School on Monday. Rishi Ragoonath

(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.

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