The Attorney-General is in a serious conflict of interest. He has held a press conference to essentially announce that his office has received a legal opinion which states that taxpayers should not be informed about how much of their money the Attorney-General has paid to his wife, or to the lawyer giving said advice. It is enough to make your head spin.
What is the reasoning of this legal opinion? That revealing the fees will jeopardise ongoing court cases.
Following the AG, we are putting the matter to him simply and deliberately: how exactly will telling us how much your wife got paid from your office jeopardise whatever case she is working on?
We submit that it will do no such thing, and that the Attorney-General’s entire Press Conference was a sorry excuse to deflect and hide this very fact from the country.
In fact, the entire spectacle which was played out yesterday at the Standing Finance Committee meeting — where the question was first asked to the AG — was alarming.
To be clear, the Opposition’s role in our Parliamentary Democracy is to ask questions on behalf of the People about Government’s expenditure, among other things. The Government cannot simply spend without justification, accounting or explaining to the People.
However, at yesterday’s sitting of the Standing Finance Committee, the Speaker allowed questions to the Government to be unanswered, allowed questions to be left in limbo, even muted certain Opposition MPs’ microphones, and still proceeded to put the increased expenditures to a vote. The PNM was thereby able pass the increased expenditures without accountability, even over vociferous objections by the Opposition.
The PNM Government is now a Dictatorship which has finally stood upright and is walking. It is no longer creeping.
The PNM is boldly spending billions of taxpayers’ dollars however they want, to whomever they want, without accounting to anyone, silencing the People, and has placed the country in a State of Emergency during which time our constitutional rights are suspended.
It is not only up to the Opposition, but to every sector of the society to prevent this Dictatorship from growing and maturing. We must return to democratic accountability, and that is a task for all of us.
In the meanwhile, we still are waiting to find out how much Faris al-Rawi’s wife has earned thus far from her husband’s AG office.
Dr. Kirk Meighoo
Public Relations Officer
United National Congress