The United National Congress is questioning whether the Prime Minister acted in good faith during his meeting with Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the issues of the ongoing imbroglio in the Judiciary and Trinidad and Tobago’s failing health care system.
Following the meeting, on the matter of the Judiciary, the Prime Minister Keith Rowley stated that the two leaders did not agree on the way forward, as Mrs Persad-Bissessar maintained her position that a tribunal should be appointed to examine the issue of the handling of the appointment of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a judge.
Rowley conceded, however, that having listened to the Opposition Leader’s stance, he agreed there was good reasoning on her part, and that he would seek further advice on her recommendation to trigger Section 137 of the Constitution to establish a tribunal.
In spite of the Prime Minister’s statement, just one day later, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi stated plainly that his intention is to proceed with legislative intervention, because, according to him, the necessary amendments to the Summary Courts Act and the Preliminary Inquiries Act do not require a special majority.
Minister Deyalsingh would soon follow suit to contradict the Prime Minister’s statements on the opening of the Couva Children’s Hospital. Following the meeting Dr Rowley said that given the lack of encouraging responses to the Government’s private/public partnership idea for the operationalization of the hospital and the fact that the central block of the PoS General Hospital is unsafe for patients, the Government would need to change its position and ulitise the 200 plus beds in the Couva Hospital.
However, at press conference at the Ministry of Health, Deyalsingh sought to undermine the consultative spirit of Tuesday’s meeting and state that plans to reconstruct the block have been set in motion with Cabinet approval for a new 500-bed block. He could, of course, give no details or comfort to people would been further affected in already failing health care system. He went on the criticize the Couva Children’s Hospital, which his Prime Minister had already stated would need to be utilized to solve this crisis.
The UNC questions who is really in charge of governing the country – is it Keith Rowley or his errant Ministers? The party calls on the Prime Minister to clarify whether his request to meet with the Leader of the Opposition was aimed at coming to a consensus, or was it simply a public relations exercise to give the country the impression that he is willing to resolve the issues plaguing the country.
“Dr Rowley needs to tell the country whether or not Al- Rawi and Deyalsingh are acting as free agents or was it always the intention of the Cabinet to pursue a predetermined agenda regardless of the meeting with Mrs Persad- Bissessar?” the Party’s PRO Anita Haynes noted in a statement today.
Ms Haynes said,“The utterances by the Ministers of Rowley’s Government post meeting have been very telling, it speaks to the duplicitous nature of this administration.”
“Either the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, which is a sign of pure incompetence, or the meeting was an act of willful deceit and the Government had no intention of adopting a more open and democratic governing style,” the UNC PRO said. “Neither of these options bodes well for our country.”
The UNC calls on Dr Rowley to clarify, as soon as possible, whether or not the meeting was a farce.
Public Relations Officer
United National Congress