Rowley: Former PM told Marlene about charges month before arrest

An in­con­gru­ous po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion led Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley to re­veal to the Par­lia­ment that Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad Bisses­sar tipped off her po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­sary, Mar­lene Mc Don­ald one month be­fore her ar­rest.

“I didn’t know Mar­lene Mc Don­ald was go­ing to get ar­rest­ed but one month be­fore she was ar­rest­ed the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion could have called her to her of­fice and tell her she was go­ing to be ar­rest­ed,” Row­ley said.

As the dis­clo­sure echoed through the Cham­ber of the Par­lia­ment on Mon­day night, gasps and wows em­anat­ed from the Gov­ern­ment bench.

On Au­gust 7, Of­fi­cers of the Fraud Squad swooped down on Mc­Don­ald’s home at Val­ley View, Mara­cas, St Joseph, where they ex­e­cut­ed a search war­rant and took away sev­er­al items.

This was in con­nec­tion with six-year-old in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the al­leged si­phon­ing of over $1 mil­lion from a Gov­ern­ment Min­istry to three or­gan­i­sa­tions which po­lice claimed linked to fam­i­ly and friends of the then pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion min­is­ter and her hus­band.

Four days lat­er, Mc Don­ald was charged with sev­en crim­i­nal charges, in­clud­ing mis­be­hav­iour in pub­lic of­fice, con­spir­a­cy to de­fraud and mon­ey laun­der­ing.

Since be­ing charged, Mc­Don­ald has been re­moved as Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter and deputy po­lit­i­cal leader of the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM).

Per­sad Bisses­sar was not in the Cham­ber at the time the Prime Min­is­ter was speak­ing and sev­er­al ef­forts to con­tact her for com­ment up to late yes­ter­day roved fu­tile.

How­ev­er, in re­sponse Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer of the UNC, Ani­ta Haynes said, “Once again Kei­th Row­ley is grasp­ing at straws. With­out a sin­gle achieve­ment to show the peo­ple of T&T, he is re­sort­ing once again to bring­ing patent­ly false claims to the Par­lia­ment in an ef­fort to de­flect at­ten­tion from his in­com­pe­tence and in­abil­i­ty to gov­ern. Re­mem­ber email-gate?” she said.