Shadow Minister of Public Utilities, MP Barry Padarath has rejected the public utterances of the RIC, particularly the Chairman Dawn Callender over the last day in relation to the aborted consultation in Chaguanas on Wednesday.
Instead of Ms. Callender taking the approach of engaging Members of Parliament and their representatives to ensure that the climate does not escalate on this issue, she has decided to descend into the political gayelle and make false accusations, unbelievable and totally inaccurate statements against Members of Parliament, Padarath stated. He also called on Minister Marvin Gonzales to stop using the Office of the Ministry of Public Utilities to mount his political attack on behalf of the PNM on the UNC and Mrs. Persad Bissessar.
Speaking in support of his colleague, Padarath stated that at no time at the consultation was MP Saddam Hosein vile or disrespectful to Ms. Callender. Padarath stated that the media, the TTPS and other Members of Parliament were present when permission was asked from the RIC’s corporate secretary, Ms. Ramjohn to speak with Ms. Callender in an effort to allow the consultation to continue.
“We did not just mount the stage, ” MP Rambally asked Ms. Ramjohn. They acceded to that request and it was upon that, that we decided, as a group, that we would all go.” The MP added.
He further stated. “At no time did any Member of Parliament engage in the dragging of a coffin or any disrespectful comments towards the RIC or made any threats towards them.”
The Shadow Minister indicated that the persona that the RIC has taken on from day one has been adversarial, mauvais lang and to make innuendos of a political nature, which he is saying has now come into full force by their actions, their behaviors and their utterances post what occurred on Wednesday.
“Ms. Callender has a duty and an obligation under the law to carry out a process and that process is not being carried out in the way that it should be in that they are stifling and muzzling the reactions and the comments of citizens.” Padarath stated.
Padarath told the media “That’s pretty much what MP Saddam Hosein told Ms. Callender when we met. She was being anti-democratic. She was stifling the voices of the people and that he could not believe what the RIC was saying because in many instances they had been contradictory in their commentary and condescending towards the people at these consultations and I am yet to hear from Ms. Callender what she considers to be vile and obscene from MP Hosein.”
“Everyone knows that MP Hosein is a devout Muslim who practices the tenets of Islam and it is disgusting for Ms. Callender to attempt to paint MP Hosein into something he is not for political purposes. This is not the first time the PNM and their agents have attempted to do something like this, they have a track record of doing it to many of us in the Opposition.”
The MP promised to continue to do their jobs, which is to voice concerns on behalf of the people and raise serious issues relating to the report.
Padarath stated that at this stage the RIC has been telegraphing to the population that this is already a done deal. The language being used at the consultation is obvious. They are there to defend what is already determined. They are not there to consult, but rather to make a case on behalf of the government.
Padarath stated that the RIC, like many other institutions under this PNM administration, are pretending to be independent while obviously being agents of the PNM and carrying out their undemocratic mandate to silence any dissent.
If the RIC were truly independent, they would allow democracy to prevail, they would guarantee the constitutional right of every citizen to protest and legally express their frustration over this price increase. Padarath ended by pointing out that the TTPS at no point suggested the event was out of control and needed to be shut down and Ms. Callender would do well to concentrate on her job rather than engaging in political mischief.