The People's National Movement (PNM) wishes to categorically deny a report in today's Guardian newspaper in which one of its suspended members, Ms Christine Levia is alleged to have stated that she was invited to the official opening of Parliament by Political Leader and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.
The report which appeared on page A6 under the headline "Rowley invited me" conveyed the misleading impression that Levia was extended an invitation to the Ceremony from the Honourable Prime Minister.
Reports reaching the PNM reveal that Ms Levia, along with two other suspended members of the PNM, were invited to the ceremony by the Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Roodal Moonilal.
Accordingly, the PNM wishes to distance itself and its Political Leader and Prime Minister the Hon. Dr Keith Rowley from any activity or circumstances associated with Ms Levia’s presence at the Official Opening.
The national community is reminded that Ms Levia along with Messrs Ricardo Welch and Barry Garcia have been suspended from the Party pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
Dr. Rowley in his victory address to the nation stated that he will not be a Prime Minister for the People’s National Movement (PNM) but a Prime Minister for everyone.
As the People's National Movement moves forward with the mandate given to us by the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago we are committed to sourcing the best and most talented people available.
It was this approach led by Dr. Rowley at the time that gave us the country's most comprehensive road map to development in the form of Vision 2020.
As newly appointed Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar has started off her tenure by criticizing a woman who has given high level and outstanding service to this country in the Senate. This we see as most unfortunate and in contradiction to her actions in the recent past.
We must recall that it was the UNC who pulled independent office holder Herbert Volney off the bench as a sitting judge to fight the St Joseph seat in 2010. Additionally, Mrs. Mary King was an Independent Senator who became a UNC senator and held the portfolio of Minister of Planning, Economic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs from May 28th, 2010.
The UNC is clearly divided on their public views of Mrs. Drayton's new portfolio as Kamla Persad-Bissessar is against but Vasant Bharath is in agreement.
Mrs. Helen Drayton is no longer on the independent bench in the Senate. She has recently taken up the Chairmanship of state owned Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG).
Mrs. Helen Drayton has a record of over 40 years’ service in both private and public organizations. She has served in the parliament of Trinidad and Tobago as an Independent Senator since 2007 and has also held many other senior portfolios and board appointments.
Her private sector record is impeccable with 24 years in the banking sector, having held senior
board level positions in the RBTT financial group. Mrs. Drayton holds an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the University of the West Indies Institute of Business.
She lectures in Business Communication, Networking and Collaboration, and Corporate Ethics.
In respect to her humanitarian efforts Mrs. Drayton served as the Chief Executive Officer of United Way Trinidad and Tobago and also Vice President of the World Federation of United Nations Association. She was a Board/Council member of several other organizations including: the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, Blind Welfare Association, Express Children’s Fund and the United Nations Development Fund Programme (UNDP) National Steering Environment Small Grants Committee.
We therefore stand proudly by our decision to have such an outstanding woman as Mrs. Drayton take up the role of Chairman at CNMG.
We are confident that Mrs. Drayton will serve our country well in her new portfolio.
Public Relations Officer
All of the electors of San Fernando West are well aware that Mr. Faris Al Rawi, the People’s National Movement candidate for that constituency, maintains an address at his family home at Ruth Avenue, San Fernando.
Mr. Al-Rawi is nevertheless very grateful for the opinion of Ramesh L. Maharaj S.C. in today’s Guardian newspaper to the effect that “no court of law would uphold a petition to remove Al-Rawi”, “where a person lives as a candidate has no bearings to challenge the result of an election or the candidacy” and “In T&T a person can live anywhere and be a candidate for any constituency. It does not challenge the eligibility of the candidate. No court will entertain such a petition to challenge the result of an election for that reason.”
Mr. Al-Rawi is also pleased to receive advice from Douglas Mendes S.C., a recognised expert in election petitions throughout the Caribbean, who has confirmed that there is no basis in law to challenge his candidacy. Mr. Mendes S.C. has stated:
“residence in the constituency in which you are nominated is not a qualification of eligibility to be elected. Neither does the making of a false declaration as to the address stated on Form 39 (which is not the facts in this case) constitute such a disqualification. I have seen no provision to that effect. In short, it is legal nonsense to suggest that if elected, your election can be successfully challenged on this basis”
The continued pursuit of this absolute nonsense by the UNC is a clear reflection of their complete desperation, in that they are purposefully ignoring the obvious flaws in their argument, both in law and simple logic and it is a demonstration of the lengths they are prepared to go in a futile attempt to salvage the unsalvageable.
Mr. Al Rawi is Red and Ready and looks forward to looking after the constituency of San Fernando West as its next Member of Parliament.
September 4th 2015
MR. STEPHEN WILLIAMS
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Police Administration Building
Cor. Edward and Sackville Streets
PORT OF SPAIN
RE: VIOLATION OF THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT - DR. ROODAL MOONILAL
I refer to the matter at caption.
Dr. Roodal Moonilal, the candidate for Oropouche East, and the recently appointed campaign manager for Mrs. Razia Ahmed, the candidate for the United National Congress in San Fernando West, has been making public statements over the last two (2) days which he knows to be false to the effect that (i) Mr. Faris Al-Rawi, the People’s National Movement candidate for San Fernando West, allegedly made a false declaration as to his qualification for election by setting out his address as No. 4 Ruth Avenue, San Fernando and (ii) that electors should not vote for Mr. Al-Rawi.
Mr. Al Rawi maintains a family home located at No. 4 Ruth Avenue, San Fernando. In any event, the address in Trinidad and Tobago of the declarant is not material to qualification as opposed to the fact that the declarant is a citizen and is resident in Trinidad, and as such, it is entirely incapable of supporting a challenge to Mr. Al Rawi’s candidacy, and Dr. Moonilal is well aware of this.
We are therefore firm in our view that the actions of Dr. Moonilal amount to undue influence contrary to section 98(2)(b) of the Representation of the People Act in that by use of a fraudulent device or contrivance, Dr. Moonilal is attempting to impede or prevent the free exercise of the franchise of electors in San Fernando West, and/or he is attempting to compel, induce or prevail upon electors in San Fernando West to refrain from voting in the election by falsely claiming that Mr. Al Rawi’s nomination is null and void.
People’s National Movement Continued Sheet
The People’s National Movement therefore requests that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service launch an immediate investigation into the matters set out above.
We are of course available at short notice to provide any further information which you may require.
The Kamla 2015 United National Congress Press Release dated September 3rd 2015 entitled “Moonilal files petition against Al Rawi” (the ‘publication’) is a desperate act by a desperate team staring at a massive defeat in San Fernando West.
Roodal Moonilal is now the campaign manager for Razia Ahmed after the firing of her last campaign manager this week. He is the proud sponsor of the ‘No Rowley Campaign’ and the Vernella Alleyne-Toppin defilement of commonwealth parliamentary practice.
Faris Al-Rawi has proudly maintained an address in San Fernando West since birth, and is perfectly entitled to do so. In any event, the issue of his address in Trinidad and Tobago is incapable of supporting any challenge in law with respect to his candidacy, and the UNC is well aware of this fact.
The publication is spurious and vexatious and has no merit in law whatsoever. Moonilal has failed to identify what specific sections of the Representation of the People Act have allegedly been breached, or for that matter, how the declaration is false in so far as Al-Rawi’s qualification to be elected is concerned, because he is simply incapable of so doing.
No challenge against Al-Rawi can be taken seriously and is destined to fail. The UNC has lost San Fernando West, and is desperately grasping at straws in an effort to distract the voters in that constituency.
Faris Al-Rawi and the People’s National Movement looks forward to defeating the UNC at the polls on September 7th 2015.