(Trinidad Express) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday she will not be “jumbied” into calling an election date.
Instead, Persad-Bissessar said her Government will be moving another motion of censure against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to have him suspended from the Parliament for the controversial “emailgate” issue.
The Prime Minister walked with three files in hand, saying there were three independent forms of evidence which all show that the e-mails read by Rowley in Parliament in 2013 were false.
However, before going into the meat of the emailgate matter, Persad-Bissessar noted that there was speculation across the country that she was going to announce the election date at yesterday’s 26th anniversary celebrations of the United National Congress (UNC) at Rienzi Complex in Couva.
She recalled that former prime minister Patrick Manning called the general election early and lost.
“Listen carefully, the last time a man tried that he lost an election when he called it before time,” she told the crowd.
The PM said there have been repeated calls for her to call the general election and she will…but not yet.
Persad-Bissessar noted that her Government adhered to every election when it was due — the local government elections, Tobago House of Assembly elections and the by-elections.
“No one, but no one, will jumbie me to call an election before it is due. They could jump high, they could jump low, no election date before it is due and you know what? They could bark and shout and call for elections, we will call it when it is due!” said Persad-Bissessar.
She said when the date is set, her team will sweep the polls and gain seats the Opposition now holds.
“We moving into San Fernando East, Point Fortin, Diego Martin North East, and hello, Diego Martin West… Dr Rowley, look out, the UNC brigade, the Partnership is coming forward,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar then turned her attention to emailgate and reiterated her call for the police to wrap up the probe into the allegations.
In May 2013, Rowley, during his motion of no-confidence against the People’s Partnership Government and the Prime Minister, disclosed the contents of 31 e-mails purporting to be exchanges between Persad-Bissessar, then-attorney general Anand Ramlogan, former minister of local government Surujrattan Rambachan and then-national security adviser to the PM, Gary Griffith.
The e-mails alleged these high office holders were conspiring to harm a journalist; plant electronic spying devices in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); offer the DPP a judgeship; and to accept payment from an unnamed woman in exchange for the freedom of people involved in the Section 34 fiasco in September 2012.
Renaming emailgate to “Rowleygate”, Persad-Bissessar pointed out that attorneys hired US-based computer forensic expert Jon Berryhill, who in his report found the e-mails were fake.
“There can be no other conclusion but that this document is a poorly-constructed fraud,” she read from Berryhill’s report.
His report stated further that every message allegedly sent came from an invalid non-existent e-mail address.
Raising “file two”, Persad-Bissessar said that her attorneys made an application to the Supreme Court in California for Google to produce the e-mails, which were allegedly sent during the month of September 2012.
She said Google’s custodian released the information, which also found that the e-mails were false and there was no e-mail even resembling those which were alleged.
The Prime Minister said “file three” contained information which the Integrity Commission requested from Google, which also show the e-mails had no truth.
She said she understood that the United States Department of Justice provided the police here with information and she questioned the delay in the conclusion of this investigation.
“These are the facts, three sources have now shown that the e-mails have no substance, there is no truth, there is no basis for the fake e-mails Dr Rowley read in Parliament,” she said.
The Prime Minister said, based on these documents, a motion of censure will be filed against Rowley.
“We will deal with him in Parliament…I’ve already advised Dr (Roodal) Moonilal, based on these documents and others which we will deal with in the Parliament, we will file a motion of censure again against Dr Rowley on emailgate, but we will not stop there…we will also call in the House for Dr Rowley to be suspended from the service of the House,” said Persad-Bissessar.
“When you come for justice you must come with clean hands and a pure heart, you cannot use the Parliament to so impugn the integrity and character of the high office holders in this land, if you are correct you are correct, but now you are wrong, we will deal with you within the confines of the Standing Orders of the law and the Parliament of this land,” she added.
Last month, the Government took an unprecedented move and filed a motion of censure against Rowley on the basis of Rowley’s failure to declare that Police Complaints Authority director David West was his witness in a court matter brought against him by former AG Ramlogan.
The Opposition has refused to entertain that motion, with Diego Martin North East MP Colm Imbert leading a walkout of the Opposition members of the Parliament after he dismissed the said motion as “frivolous” and “vexatious”.
The Opposition has taken the position to not be present in the Parliament whilst this motion is debated and walked out again when the debate resumed on another day.
That motion is still before the House.
The life of Parliament in the current People’s Partnership administration ends on June 16, therefore Government has until then to bring its second motion against Rowley.