Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) is using candidates with criminal backgrounds—including a US deportee—and this will set a dangerous precedent of criminals infiltrating the political system if successful, UNC deputy leader Roodal Moonilal has alleged.
Speaking at a People’s Partnership local government campaign meeting on Monday night at Pepper Sauce Junction, Endeavour, Chaguanas, Moonilal claimed Kerwin Bucchan currently before the court on a gun and ammunition charge is a “double deportee” having being sent back from the United States twice. Moonilal said the ILP was presenting candidates with criminal records.
“We are seeing a very dangerous situation developing in our political history, we’re witnessing the criminalisation of our political structure where criminals are on the verge of infiltrating and infesting our representative democratic institutions.” Moonilal said countries all over the Third World collapse when criminals are elected to power. “And the green party led by Jack Warner is proposing criminal elements and I call on Jack Warner to withdraw those candidates with criminal records.”
Moonilal drew attention to ILP’s Morvant candidate pictured going to court last week: “…With a towel over his head so when he put up a poster as a candidate, it’s not ‘vote ILP’, it’s ‘Wanted’. He cannot show his face.” Moonilal said he had received worrying information that ILP’s Morvant candidate is also an alleged double deportee from the US.
Moonilal alleged, “He was deported not once, but twice. The candidate by name of Kerwin Bucchan, who is still an ILP candidate, was deported from the US in 2008 for fireams and ammunition. He illegally went back to the US and was deported again in 2011 for fireams and possession of narcotics and illegal entry and illegal stay in the US and Robin Montano is campaigning for him in Port-of-Spain.”
Moonilal said the candidate could win his seat or become a corporation chairman. “This means we’re criminalising T&T’s democratic institutions,” he said. Moonilal alleged another ILP North candidate was fired by a casino for “thiefing” and another in Princes Town was “fired by Republic Bank for fraud.” He also alleged an ILP South candidate was before the courts on recent charges of robbery with violence and was known to the police for committing offences including kidnapping and drug trafficking.
“When you criminalise public institutions our democracy collapses—what will they do when they get in? Plunder the Treasury,” Moonilal claimed. Reading e-mails and their respective addresses, Moonilal said he had a copy of an e-mail from ILP chairman and Port-of-Spain co-ordinator Montano (robinmontano1@gmail) to Warner in which Montano pointed out that the ILP candidates were not working and were asking for money.
Moonilal said the e-mail noted Montano had spoken to one candidate, but the person had asked what he was entitled to and was reluctant to work, was unenthusiastic about the campaign, but rather wanted to know what they were entitled to. Moonilal added, “Montano was warning Warner about the type of candidates they have in the Port-of-Spain area. Robin Montano, I believe you still have the decency and conscience left, I call on you, are you condoning and supporting the use of criminal elements as candidates in an election?
“Robin, you come from a very distinguished family, your father gave distinguished service, your brother has a background of good service also, I ask you, Robin, to take the good Montano name out of the ILP and out of criminalising of our public institutions.” The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) rules maintain a candidate can contest unless they are convicted with jail sentences exceeding 12 months or the death sentence.