SPEAKING NOTES OF THE HON. KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, SC, MP POLITICAL LEADER OF THE UNITED NATIONAL CONGRESS LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MONDAY MARCH 20TH 2023
Good evening UNC family and friends. Good evening St Helena, and to the team from Caroni East including MP Dr Rishi thank you for hosting us tonight. Team Caroni East and MP Dr Rishi. To my colleagues who are here and the several brilliant speakers before me, thank you so much.
I want to say congratulations to all of you. And you know we have been putting the arms of the party in place. We did our full internal national executive elections last year. Then we moved to have the constituency elections.
And then we moved to have our national congress which was a great success. Thanks to all of you who came. And we still have to put in place our Youth Arm and our Women’s Arm.
We did our full internal national executive elections last year. Then we moved to have the constituency elections.
Tonight I want to announce the Chairman of the United National Congress Youth Arm has been nominated unopposed and therefore the new Chairman of our UNC Youth Arm will be Daniel Rasheed.
There are some other young people that will join him to form that executive. We will put the full executive in place shortly.
I am also proud to announce that the UNC new headquarters, the refurbishment, has been completed this week. Final touches this week and our headquarters will be ready in time to celebrate the anniversary of our great party the UNC.
You would have seen team UNC continues to work for you, continue to work with you. This week I’m sure many of you would have seen the UNC on the road to victory. They hit the ground.
You would have seen team UNC continues to work for you, continue to work with you.
I want to congratulate DPL John, Senator Robert, Senator Nakhid, Senator Damien, Joseph Toney, Councillor Rampersad, MP Rambally and many others who hit the road last weekend and they plan to hit the road again because why? We are on the road to victory, will you join us? Are you ready for victory? So let us continue that work. Let me thank Chairman Awong, of course joining us here tonight as the Chairman for this Region, the other councilors who are here, all the unc family and my MP’s and Senators.
Now before I go further, you know we pay respect to those who respect us. Not those who cuss us and then want us to respect them so we respect our elders. I want to give greatest respect to my sister Archbishop Barbara Burke
As we approach the Baptist Day. As you know Archbishop Burke has been a great warrior and fighter for that group so I ask her to join me and to bring us some greetings as we approach Spiritual Shouter Baptist Day.
Thank you very much, mother – Archbishop. Please give her a round of applause for her blessings. Powerful, powerful sisterhood. Thank you so much for standing with us. You know people forget. Sometimes we conveniently forget. Sometimes we genuinely forget but we have short memories sometimes not all the time. And then to hear my sister talk of the things we did for the Spiritual Baptist. I am so proud. We didn’t do just for the Spiritual Baptists, we did for everyone in Trinidad and Tobago.
Now I have tonight, I said I would mentioned Khadijah’s point. Which is the Secondary Roads company that was put under the Ministry of Local Government. Promised and then promised and then 8 months later not one road and you pick up this company and you drop it in another ministry.
The question is “why?” Now when the company was announced in our caucuses we took decisions that all our Corporations should write to the Local Government Minister listing the roads, the local roads, the local government roads that should be put forward to be repaired.
Well as we say not one has been repaired and they moved it. I am told that Faris had contractors measuring road and roadways and doing estimates and he was ready to hit the ground and they took it away from him. Why?
Is it that this money is now going to be funneled into Balisier house. The slush fund in Balisier house. So we will watch those developments as I say they will have to account for that money one day.
One day they will have to explain where they got that hundred million dollars. Because you couldn’t get that from the raffle. No sensible person here will believe you raised a hundred million dollars from a raffle. Who is going to believe that?
One day they will have to explain where they got that hundred million dollars. Because you couldn’t get that from the raffle.
That massive structure there you will have to answer because God dont sleep, I tell you. He only wears pajamas. So that will come to light.
I wanted to share that point with you. But there are much more serious issues, or equally serious issues happening in our country today and I am going to be a bit serious with you tonight.
Sometimes I know we make jokes and we have fun together and we still have fun together. But there are too many dangerous things happening in our country. So I have a duty, a constitutional duty, a moral duty, a humanitarian duty, to raise these issues here with you all tonight.
First of all I condemn in the strongest terms possible. I was trying to look for a word more than strong, you know. As Trinis would say, more stronger.
I condemn wholeheartedly, in every way the thuggish, gangster-like attacks on DPP Roger Gaspard. At the high offices of this land they are operating like thugs, like gangsters.
First of all we had the wajang himself Rowley, rump and follow suit Liemore AG and I am so distressed to see over the weekend that the high office of the chief justice of Trinidad and Tobago jumping into that fray, down in the gayelle. Why? Why are you engaging in that battle down in the gayelle.
You know Roger Gaspard has only one boss. Yes he has. All of us are his bosses. But do you know his boss in the law. He has only one boss and that is the chief justice of Trinidad and Tobago.
Why would a chief justice jump in the gayelle in the political fray, on the ground in a ten page open public statement? Why you didn’t call in the man and say DPP you have a constitutional office, I have a constitutional office, we appointed you, the JLSC appointed you. Hello! You have some problems? Let’s talk.
Why would a chief justice jump in the gayelle in the political fray, on the ground in a ten page open public statement?
Why issue a ten page document out in the public domain all over the social media? Why? Two big men, why? Why now? Is that an important question too? This is not the first time the DPP has said that he had a staff shortage? Saddam is that true? Is not the first time.
And anybody would know the shortage is there. When we were last in office, we approved 129 lawyers for his department. I approved it as head of the cabinet, together with my cabinet, and that was then in 2014. Can you imagine the situation now, that 129 would have have to be topped up.
Why did the Chief Justice, I am asking and I ask him to explain, why now? If since 2014 that department was understaffed, six/seven years later, why you now coming to explain all these things? Why? Did somebody tell you to do it? Is it payback time Chief Justice? Is it trump and follow suit that Rowley said it, Armour said it and you now jump in with two of them to back them up, trump and follow suit?
Why you doing that? And that to me is a very important question.
You see the PNM has a history of compromising and undermining independent institutions of the state. if they cannot control these institutions or they feel they cannot control them what they do? Mash them up, lick you down, run them out. Exactly that’s how they do, and they will destroy persons in the same way.
Look what happened today, big news in town. Rowley has sworn in his puppet President today. Puppet President. So every institution he wants total control of. That has been their history, their playbook. I mentioned to you in a previous meeting, that is their playbook. If they cannot strangle you, if they cannot pull your string, get out, go.
Is that what now they are ganging up on this DPP. Why? I ask that question why?
The independent institutions of the state were subverted to such an extent that the PNM publicly and boldly declared on a platform,… sister Barbara will remember it and many of you will remember when a PNM Minister stood up on a platform and he said “all ah we thief”.
Proud to stand up on a platform to say all in the PNM thief, all ah we thief. And anything happened with them? They continued, they continued. But was that investigated? Was anybody investigated and hounded out of government by anybody else? Look at all the years from O’Halloran, down the road in the history corruption of the PNM and not one PNM get caught up in that.
I want to remind you, you know. Roger Gaspard is a decent, honorable, independent, DPP. And so Rowley publicly attacked this man about some building. I told you last week Gaspard talked about having shortage of staff, Rowley gone to talk about building. Well who owns that building? Is it some friend of Faris Al Rawi who was the AG when this building was being procured. Who owns it?
I condemn as I say, this attack on a man who is honourable, decent, hardworking, independent DPP. You see Rowley does not want those people. As I said he wants puppets so that he can pull strings.
I condemn as I say, this attack on a man who is honourable, decent, hardworking, independent DPP.
So when it is Gaspard raised the issue about the staff shortage, Rowley went on the platform. Never talked about that. But he got his other puppet to come out and talk about that on the weekend. I’ll come back to him in a moment, not leaving him alone. If its war he want, we will fight for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We will fight. And the last time anybody talked about a high judicial officer the fella end up dead you know. Do you all know about that.
The last time anybody talked about that high judicial officer the man became a refugee in England. Do you all remember that. So if you want to condemn people you must be careful when you live in a glass house don’t pelt stones. I am not afraid of any of you. I have said I will meet you anywhere, inside the Parliament, outside the Parliament and on the pavement too. We will take you on, on the pavement. We will take you on.
Because if we do not do it, the other speakers have mentioned it, the UNC now – and we will take them in the courthouse as well, thank you Deputy Leader. Because if we do not do it there’ll not be a man left to stand up to this dictator regime. Right now the only thing standing between the freedoms and right of people in this country and the wicked corrupt PNM government is the United National Congress, is the UNC.
And that is why I am not afraid, we on this platform in and out (of Parliament), we are not afraid to raise the serious issues. You all have to understand you know because too long we have stood quietly and have done and said nothing. They say well now the UNC is tit for tat and back for back, well yes, if you come at me I will come back for you, I will fight you. If you come against the people of this country, we will stand for them. You cannot steam roller again your dictatorship, so tonight I want to say more on these matters.
Up to now Rowley raised concerns about the building, DPPs accommodation and up to now nobody in government can say whether they completed the work recommended by the experts to have a secure DPP building in Port of Spain. No one has told us, have they completed the recommendations made – and they were not made by me or you, or Rowley or the Chief Justice. They were made by the Special branch.
I told you this man has trouble with the Special Branch. The recommendations have been made by the Special Branch. They are the experts.
So Rowley must tell the country the truth. Is it true that there are multiple special branch reports that have said the building is not up to security standards? The police special branch – Earla Madam, please come out and tell us. Are there multiple reports about the security and safety of the DPP’s Office?
That is the issue. How much money you pay or you didn’t pay – that is your deal that was cut with whomever, whenever to pay rent for the building. That is your negotiations. But tell us how many special branch reports that tell us that this place is not safe. Remember, a Prosecutor, a Senior Counsel was murdered – she was pursuing high profile cases. God rest her soul. She was a brilliant lawyer. Others in the DPP’s Office have said that they have been threatened and harassed. So security is a key issue when you are prosecuting criminals. So that is one issue there.
Others in the DPP’s Office have said that they have been threatened and harassed.
Has the work that was recommended to make the building secure – have you completed that work? Do not come to tell us about the money you are paying…. And they want bullet proof glass and walls. They do not want that! Those are the things that are recommended as needed for their safety and security. Why are the lawyers in the DPP’s Office leaving? Maybe they are not safe, they do not feel secure, they are overworked and overloaded. And so that issue of the building — how many reports?
If the special branch police are saying it is a danger, why then blame the DPP? Again, more in the mortar than in the pestle. We have to watch this thing. How all this wasn’t happening before? How is it now happening? After the DPP discontinued high profile cases against Ramdeen and Ramlogan and Basdeo Panday, Carlos John and the others in the Piarco matters.
He said that these matters cannot go forward. All of a sudden this DPP is the worst thing on earth. Nobody remembers when the DPP discontinued the case against PNM Minister, the late Franklin Khan. He was a very good boy then. May he rest in peace as well. Remember there was some case of corruption and bribery with Eric Williams – they were charged and the case went on.
Then the DPP was discontinued – not a squeak! I guess they were all celebrating and clapping at that point in time. When this same DPP applies similar standards, if not the same standards, it says we cannot pursue these cases against Ramdeen and Ramlogan and we cannot continue these cases against the Piarco accused. Everybody vex and as I say the DPP is worse than anything coming out from hell.
They say we have conspiracy theories but you really have to wonder if there is a whole conspiracy to run the DPP out of office. Because when you do that then you can get whoever is your puppet DPP, whoever that maybe will become….. You give the instructions to come and charge Anil Roberts, this one and that one and you will get them to follow your bidding as it was done in the past. So are you out for this DPP?
They say we have conspiracy theories but you really have to wonder if there is a whole conspiracy to run the DPP out of office.
If Gaspard is being so unreasonable in not wanting to move into the building, then make public what was recommended by the special branch and what was done. Tell us what it was.
And so I say are there plans afoot to hound the DPP out of office?
Now lying that way, smearing and attacking the DPP about him not moving but you are not telling the country that your government is renting unsuitable buildings from friends, family and financiers. DPP Gaspard has clearly upset the political directorate and I have no doubt that there may well be a campaign to smear and slander this man as they have done with anybody else they could not control.
That is the way of the Rowley PNM. Look out, soon they will begin to smear and slander the DPP by leaking out rumors and lies about him through their bloggers and fake profiles. Do not be surprised.
Then the guardian media will pick up these smears and turn it into mainstream front page, back page, middle page stories from lies and rumors they get on social media. That is how they coordinate their campaign – disinformation. The same way they did with emailgate. So, there is this orchestrated and coordinated attack on the DPP.
It is clear that the CJ is being protected by Rowley. It is clear that Rowley is being protected by the CJ. You scratch my back, I will scratch yours. The PNM cannot distort and pervert our democracy any longer!
We have already called out the PM and the AG. So now, let us talk about the Honourable CJ. And I have never once, in my long, legal and other careers, had cause to call out a CJ of Trinidad and Tobago because I respect that office. But when you get into a place where you have no business being, then we have to call you and then you have to answer.
We cannot let the CJ use his office to get away with this perversion in the attack against the DPP!
Mr. Archie followed an attack by the incompetent, failed, and worst Attorney General.
Liemore, Armour accused the DPP’s Office of underperforming, and then Archie issued this 10-page statement. His release – it contains many statements which are presumptuous and totally out of order from the office of the CJ.
If the Cabinet approves a staff complement of 125? Then who is the CJ? Who is that office to question the need for the number of staff recommended by the cabinet? And the cabinet made that recommendation based on the reports we would have gotten from the office of the DPP. Is the CJ aware of the workload of the DPP’s lawyers? You would think the answer is yes. But when you read his statement, it is clear what they do or what they must do.
What he says is that the number of staff there— he is speaking in terms of using the number of high court judges. But this man forgot that you have district courts – we used to call them magistrate courts all over Trinidad and Tobago.
And in those magistrate courts, they do not have one court in those courts. So if you have 13 districts, you will have in each one, several courts. Sometimes in the same building. So we are talking about many more courts where these DPP lawyers have to go. So, you cannot measure how many lawyers you need for the DPP by just the number of high court judges. No. It has to be spread.
In addition, what do those lawyers do? They have to give advice, review proceedings and draft indictments, appeal in complex appeals, prosecute matters in the magistrates’ courts all over TT, among other things. So it is out of order to say the amount of staff you will need is based on the number of high court judges. Nonsense! Total nonsense! But let us discredit this DPP – that is the latest move by the PNM. And they have put Parliament for Wednesday, they are going to come with some bill called whistleblower legislation.
You know they brought it once before but they never followed it through because it is such a flawed piece of law it would take away people’s rights. And you want to know why they brought this back, it’s to distract the population away from serious business.They want to come and call some UNC name and say UNC thief. So Wednesday don’t be surprised if they come to call some UNC names and slander some UNC names again under the pretense of debating the whistleblower legislation. But we are ready for them!.
You know they brought it once before but they never followed it through because it is such a flawed piece of law it would take away people’s rights.
So Mr Archie I’m saying the numbers cannot be based on the number of high court judges. And don’t forget I said we have the Appeal Court as well.
Everything raised by the CJ in his public statement could have been addressed privately with the DPP. Not today. Not at this eleventh hour.
Instead he takes the approach of Liemore and Rowley and mounts a public platform to levy public criticism of the DPP through the press. It has been festering for some time.
Why? Is it because Rowley refused to have the tribunal set up to investigate your conduct and now you are paying him back by saying yes, slap up Gaspard , let him go run him out.
Is it now pay back time? Archie says when you see a man down on the ground, it’s to kick him.
I had a lot more to say about Chief Justice Archie, but I’ll leave that for another time.
Why were these allegations never investigated? Omne man who spoke about a high Judicial officer was killed. Another man who called out questions for this high judicial officer, poor fella, he went in the cold as a refugee in England.
So does Rowley have Archie on a short leash?
I want you to remember Mr Panday’s case.
Remember Mr. Panday’s case where the Privy Council recently ruled that Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls was “hopelessly compromised”.
The PNM police were quick to charge Chief Justice Sat Sharma and McNicolls was the prosecution’s star witness. When the case collapsed because he refused to testify not a dog barked. McNicolls was never charged with misconduct in public office after he brought down the Chief Justice.
Sat Sharma was suspended after the PNM triggered the Lord Mustill Tribunal to enquire into the allegations made by McNicolls. McNicolls was the same man who was trying Basdeo Panday while he was buying and selling back land with money that he didn’t have . He was hopelessly compromised.
Is the CJ compromised as well ?
Compare this with the way Rowley treated Chief Justice Ivor Archie. Serious allegations swirling around him.
As I say we will come back to this another time .
Is Rowley fearful of Gaspard due to the Vincent Nelson Scandal.
This public criticism and deprecation of the DPP comes on the heels of ending the Nelson case against Ramdeen and Ramlogan, the Piarco 3 matter against the Pandays.
I maintain that these are and always have been political persecutions!
Remember the study The Harassment of Basdeo Panday, Center for the Study Of Harassment of African Americans, Washington DC, April 1995.
Rowley is fearful of Gaspard because of the Vincent Nelson scandal. The Rowley government went behind the back of DPP Gaspard and engaged in witness tampering by offering inducements to Vincent Nelson.
I call on the Commissioner of Police to investigate witness tampering on the part of Faris Al Rawi and the government.
The DPP knew nothing of their illegal inducements aided by two PNM senior ‘eat a food’ lawyers.
But again, the TTPS does not see any of this and do not think it warrants an investigation. TTPS blind to all of this and we wonder why crime is at an all-time high.
The now infamous Vincent Nelson indemnity agreement is once again at the forefront.
Over the weekend we learned that convicted King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson wrote to the DPP urging him to take steps to have his conviction and sentence set aside.
Why? He is saying they acted outside of the law by offering him inducements. They made promises to him.
And you know what is so ironic. When Nelson sued them in the courts over the indemnity. The same lawyers who prepared that indemnity document are the same lawyers who defending the DPP and saying that agreement was a bad agreement. Only in Trinidad and Tobago!
What were the eleven promises? To buy to induce to witness tamper to give evidence against Ramdeen and Ramlogan.
Promise No 1:
That on October 5, 2017, former AG Faris Al-Rawi informed Nelson’s former attorney Roger Kawalsingh, you remember him? The one who buy the Porsche that was never registered for years that’s the guy…that if Nelson gave a notarized statement against former UNC politicians Anand Ramlogan, SC, and Gerald Ramdeen he (Al-Rawi) would ensure that Nelson was paid for work he did for the Government.
So they withhold payments. They say boy if you sign this thing that says Anand and Ramdeen, them is two thief, corrupt and whatever, we will pay you the money that the govt owes you, your own money eh.
The period for payment, the letter said, covered 2010-2013 and February-December 2018. He got payments and so on, and he sued when we lost the government, he sued for work he had done.
And it had to go to appeal and then Faris got to somebody and tell him look don’t worry we will pay you the money, all you have to do is come and bad talk Ramlogan and Ramdeen.
And so said they did pay him about ten million after that.
Promise No 2:
The second alleged promise set out in the letter was that his notarized statement would only be shown to the DPP and the ACIB, but not any “criminal investigatory or prosecuting body” outside of TT.
So they never showed anybody up in the UK and so on. But somebody leaked it to the UK and the fella got in trouble up there. He can’t practice law up there. What they say thief from thief does make God laugh.
So they promised him we not going to give anybody just the DPP and anti corruption.
Nelson gave the statement on October 26, 2017, and provided all kinds of documents in return for the indemnity promised to him by Al-Rawi, the letter said.
Promise No 3:
It was alleged that Faris “undertook, as part of the indemnity agreement,” to recommend to the DPP that no criminal proceedings will commence against Nelson. Faris promised he will tell the DPP no criminal proceedings. Now that was broken too because they charged Nelson in the court and up to now he is owing the court fines for that charge, 2.2 million dollars.
Promise No 4:
The DPP was told that the former AG recommended to him, “on diverse occasions in 2018,” that he should not prosecute Nelson. Because of the promises Faris made, he would not be charged, he would not be fined.
These alleged promises related to the indemnity agreement and Nelson’s statement. It said that the TT Government would not give the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) the document and so on. They promised further a presidential pardon for Nelson.
Well hello that might very well happen now because they have a puppet president sitting down in the president house.
This Nelson must really feel Faris is God. That Faris would make sure he is not prosecuted, that Faris would get him all the millions that Faris would get him what? Presidential pardon. These were promises that any man would want.
With due respect to him KC Mr Nelson was suffering from cancer and he badly needed money to get treatment for his illness. He has had im happy for him god bless him, after all this happened he got better, what you call it a remission.
So he got better and then he said listen, the man now looking for his money, his indemnity, them time he was weak and he wanted the money the govt owed him so he went along. So these promises here, to get a pardon, he also said, after he was sentenced and that he would receive “full monetary compensation” in other words, whatever they charged him, he would get it back. They will pay him that money too.
These alleged that “an undertaking” was provided to Nelson and his attorney agreeing to pay him which came “after” he threatened not to come to TT. Remember he said unless you pay me the money I am not coming to give evidence.
And all of this would have remained secret if it were not for the DPP Roger Gaspard who took a stand against this nonsense. Again I am saying another reason they want to lick down DPP Gaspard.
This is why they want to get rid of Roger Gaspard. Everything else about building and staffing is red herring. This has nothing to do with building and staffing. They want him out because they are afraid of being charged for witness tampering, corruption and misbehavior in public office by Faris and the Rowley government.
That is what is a serious threat to them based on the behavior of these million promises they made to Mr Nelson and Mr Nelson coming as they say for his pound of flesh. He has written the DPP and he sued in the high court.
When the DPP discontinued these cases because he felt prosecution and witness and so on unreliable and made the point nobody attacked him for the Franklyn Khan discontinuation.
In the case against Anand Ramlogan and Gerald Ramdeen however when the DPP says Vincent Nelson is not a reliable and credible witness because of the inducement, some people call it bribe, buy out, payout whatever, witness tampering and so on everybody vex about it.
If you are a UNC you do not enjoy the presumption of innocence because the PNM law is different strokes for different folks. While we are equal in the eyes of the law, the PNM people are above the law and in the manner in which they operate.
People are suggesting that the deputy DPP would become the DPP.
What we do know is that it will be a puppet DPP that they want to put in place so I call on the COP to investigate these serious allegations of witness tampers and misconduct in public office.
Boy if it was a UNC man all now they are searching the man house, under your bed, in the laptop and cell phone, they want everything. Investigate these allegations of that indemnity agreement.
A copy signed you can get it i had placed it in the public domain years ago, people didn’t take it on then but with each passing day this is a serious indictment against Faris al rawi and the Rowley PNM.
Madam Christopher God will help you when you help yourself so please investigate these serious allegations now.
Rowley wants a dictatorial state; he will not get it.
I call on madam Christopher as well to investigate that 100 million dollar Balisier house. Where is that money coming from please investigate.
I close tonight by thanking you all for coming out in your numbers. God is good all the time. Madam, Archbishop Burke, thank you for your blessings here tonight and for the rest of you, enjoy the rest of your week and we shall meet again. God bless you and thank you very much.