Rowley has no time for Integrity; he’s trying to be T&T Prime Minister

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley will not allow himself to be sidetracked by matters of integrity as he continues his campaign to be elected as Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister.

Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley. (Courtesy Jyoti Communication)
Photo: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
(Courtesy Jyoti Communication)

Well, that’s a load off the minds of people who are afraid of a radical change in governance.

At a PNM public meeting at Embacadere, San Fernando on Sunday, Rowley, according to the Trinidad Guardian, responded to an Integrity Commission request for information relating to his 2004 Declaration of Income Assets and Liabilities in the manner that people react to Jehovah Witnesses when they are getting ready for work.

“Between now and September 7, I am busy with the people’s business,” said Rowley. “I am busy putting this Government out of office and if that question could have waited for 11 years, it could wait for 11 weeks.”

The Witnesses probably mutter under their breath: Well, if you are too busy to save your soul today…

Presumably, ILP leader Jack Warner heard Rowley’s speech and sent the PNM boss a text message straight away: “Damn right Keithos! And can you believe the FBI wants to talk to me about stuff I did back in 1991?! Lolz!”

Of course, the Integrity Commission did allow itself to be dragged into disrepute during its “emailgate” investigations, when it seemed more beholden to Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s attorney, Israel Khan SC, than to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. (Courtesy
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

And, yes, there is about as much integrity in the current IC as there is pompek in the average hot dog.

And, admittedly, Rowley has been quizzed about Landate more than Bunji Garlin has been asked about Machel Montano.

But most people do not get to choose which arms of the State they obey or set timetables for authorities. Rowley suggested he would be more open to talks with investigators after he is prime minister.

What could go wrong?

Rowley, helpfully, pointed out some matters that the IC could investigate like the $400 million Beetham Waste Water Treatment scandal.

Hands up if you ever tried that line on a policeman who stopped you on the PBR and he responded with: “You’re absolutely right. I will get straight on that…”

Just two weeks before the general election, the threat of a prison term somewhere down the road did not scare Rowley either. Presumably, he expects to be the sitting prime minister by then.

“Let me tell Mr Zainool Hosein something this evening, it was Sir Alexander Bustamante who said if a politician hasn’t been to jail he hasn’t been all over the country,” said Rowley, “and if I have to go to jail as a result of not responding to you in 14 days, come I am ready to go.”

Sir Bustamante must be a politician after Warner’s own heart then. His quote is probably on Anil Roberts’ refrigerator as well. And on Anand Ramlogan’s bed head. And written on Glenn Ramadharsingh’s palm.

Photo: Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president and TTFA special advisor Jack Warner (left) gets a police escort as he arrives in Parliament on 5 June 2015. (Copyright Diego Urdaneta/AFP 2015)
Photo: Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president and TTFA special advisor Jack Warner (left) gets a police escort as he arrives in Parliament on 5 June 2015.
(Copyright Diego Urdaneta/AFP 2015)

All over Trinidad and Tobago, it seems politicians are ready to make a jail. But never for the benefit of the people or the country.

Mr Live Wire cannot confirm that Persad-BIssessar steupsed and muttered to herself when she heard Rowley’s flippant dismissal of a legal body empowered by the constitution.

“Who thiefin’ whose manifesto now?!”

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About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    And Anil Roberts can say it wasn’t him in a video rolling a plant like substance and continue to run a Youth Ministry, because that’s allowed too.

  2. Actually racial profiling and excessive force are not allowed. But I think we’re going astray.
    I agree the timing of the IC’a request is suspect, I agree the IC is a mess, but I don’t agree with ignoring authority and/or laws because they are dumb or irritate me.

  3. Chabeth Haynes Im up because where I am it was already daylight and morning.

  4. The pplof Trinidad and Tobago should take a hint do noot be distracted lets do this together vote for the PNM vote for the PNM put your X by the balizea

  5. Guess that’s like three white police officers pulling over a black man in a traffic stop,and although he obeys their every command, they shoot him and then say they thought he had a gun and feared for their lives… that’s allowed too..

  6. Yeah, it’s definitely amiss. But if it’s allowed, it’s allowed. It has to be changed.

  7. If the IC keeps investigating a matter over and over something is well amiss. so if the 2nd IC clears the individual again, then a 3rd IC, 4th IC…?

  8. Well if that’s the case he has a mentor, SOMEONE IN HIGH OFFICE..

  9. When you have integrity,like Dr.Rowley,you don’t have to walk round saying,” Psssst ! I have integrity. “

  10. Actually Chabeth Haynes…I dead serious about that… DEAD SERIOUS!!! I think we as a people are too easily intimidated and roll over and accept too much garbage hidden behind “the law”…Can you magine what the world would be like today if men like Ghandi and Mandela had just quietly obeyed the law? I perish that thought!!!

  11. If there is no statute of limitations with respect to the IC investigating a matter, then legally they can keep investigating it forever. We cannot just ignore laws and bodies that we do not like. We have to get them changed.
    Nicole Ulerie, if the courts clear you of a matter and after that some police come asking you about the same matter… You telling then “ah not answering allyuh!” You bad… Lol.

  12. LOL…not millions Christopher Didier…but a sizable sum

  13. Question:Has Dr Rowley been awarded millions by our courts for wrongful accusations in this same matter?

  14. …and who knows what’s really happening secretly,while we all are being distracted by this nonsense.. Dr Rowley has to keep paying attention and remain focussed..

  15. integrity
    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It should follow if the Integrity Comm itself has lost its moral compass then it has lost its legal authority… there must be a balance.. our acceptance of these legal decisions (but seemingly dishonest in intent), in spite of knowing that they are immoral is what has the country in its present state.. (ref JW).. Every time an Intg Comm gets new members are we saying that they can go back and rehash and old matter already decided by a previous Comm?

  16. Chabeth Haynes…if I’ve been vindicated on a matter and know i’m in the right and someone comes at me with and BS about it…my response would be…If yuh name man, lock me up….leh we go to court…and let’s see who would come out on which end of the stick

  17. All of the above just goes to prove what Dr. Rowley has been saying all along… there needs to be reform of the legislation and structure of the IC.

  18. Note that he also said that “the Integrity Commission can wait 11 (more) weeks”, meaning that if his attorneys responded, they would have already made a request for an extension of time for the information requested to be provided beyond the 14-day timeframe outlined in the letter.

  19. Nicole Ulerie, that’s how he meant “prepared to make a jail?” That’s not how it came across to me.. I thought he meant he was prepared to go to jail for not responding within the 14 day stipulated timeframe…

  20. Totally agree Eko Watts…because “prepared to make a jail” means if found wanting after due process I’m prepared to face the consequences of my actions..

  21. All the Opposition Leader said was for the Integrity Commission to bring it on, he did not say eff you, he said he was prepared to make a jail, ie he is calling their bluff, if there is any substance to the IC allegations they should pursue their allegations to their legal conclusion. Lasana Liburd your conclusion that the Opposition Leader is in some way exempting himself from due process is unfortunate. What in essence is the challenge is that if there is any substance to the allegations or in the currently constituted IC making the allegations then lets test it on legal grounds.

  22. I feel dey selling Integrity Commission stationary online!

  23. Well, the letter was signed by the Acting Registrar and dated August 13. Martin Farrell was already out of office.

  24. I feel is the same person who vindicate Kamla in the Emailgate investigation send this letter.

    Yuh see now why this Integrity Commission has to be replaced?

  25. What was the date of the letter and when did people go on vacay?

  26. I am not referring to Dr Rowley in this case but another MP. I believe this instance is just a simple case of the IC incompetence . We are reading to many intentions into it . They probable asked him like they did to me to state the address of the registered office of the Unit Trust . At the time the IC was based in the unit trust building

  27. Imagine the court charged the collapsed IC with malfeasance in public office and Zainool take this chain up?! Steups. A solid where to get off is what he need yes

  28. Adrian Clarke, is this the first time it’s going to the DPP? Or it has already been to the DPP and the DPP said no case, and then the IC continued investigating and is resending to the DPP etc etc… 11 years after the fact to be asking for this is outrageous…even without the proximity to the election.

  29. Adrian, are you OK with the Integrity Commission choosing NOW to ask those questions of Dr Rowley 11 yrs later or is this something you’d consider normal?

  30. So if a certain mp’s file is sent by the IC to the dpp for corruption this week, would that be an abuse of power?

  31. He did – it was reported that he did so in the Sunday Express cover story.

  32. The worst thing Dr Rowley could have done would have been to legitimize a flawed process. That’s the ONE thing he cannot do. When you look at everything in context even Stevie Wonder could see this is an abuse of process and it MUST be fought. That’s what civil disobedience is all about. What was done to people during apartheid, civil rights movement and all other acts of oppression, was actually LEGAL. Section 34 was LEGAL, hiring Reshmi was LEGAL, Life Sport was LEGAL, but people had to show the “powers that be’ they are willing to stand up to an abusive system. That’s what’s happening here. As citizens or Trinidad and Tobago we should be thanking to Dr Rowley for what he is doing because if they can abuse the system like that and he is the Leader of the Opposition, think of what they can do to an ‘ordinary citizen’ like you or I? No, he HAS to fight and WE have to support him in this fight. This is not about Dr Rowley’s response to the Integrity Commission, this is about Dr Rowley standing up to an abuse of process.

  33. I believe Anthony mentioned somewhere above that Rowley indicated he placed the matter in the hands of his legal team Chabeth.

  34. Vernal Damion Cadogan and Rhoda Bharath, why y’all up?!

    As long as there is legal authority to ask, then people have to answer. If you find you are being harassed, take it to court. If you want the legal authority diminished, do so via the constitution. But everybody cannot just decide that they will ignore legally empowered persons and/or bodies or answer to them in their own good time. That is the same mentality that leads people to argue with police and resist arrest etc etc. Society will collapse if everybody just does whatever they want. If we don’t like it, we have to get it changed somehow. Clearly the IC as an idea has to be revamped as it seems to hardly ever, if at all, function properly.

  35. The fact that any investigation can be opened, closed and reopened again at the whim of members of the Integrity Commission seems unjust.
    I can see if some new evidence has come to light, but to just randomly ask for documents related to a long closed investigation is highly suspicious.

  36. 2 COE, several court matters, judgement in his favour, an IC resigning for having been found to be lacking integrity in their handling of this matter..,….. And 11 years later, 2 weeks before election?! The piss for rain has met its tipping point. The camel’s back cannot stand one more strand of hair!!!!!

  37. Zainool, the duck n run zandolee is also now on vacation… so doh ask him no questions!

  38. It is ridiculous and the timing is noteworthy. It is an abuse of power from an institution that has been compromised.

  39. Nah Lasana, I’m sorry I cannot agree with yuh on this one. Frankly Zainool lucky is not me he had to deal with on this one cuz my response would not have been proper in polite company, cuz a heavy eff you was coming his way. This is nothing short of Anand Ramlogan styled persecution.

  40. I have to sympathize with the good Dr! They have called him “child of a rapist,” “a rapist,” “a thief,” “a dog, a liar and sexual harasser,” now this, at a time when Kamla is too busy to debate? If you don’t understand how the UNC operates then you don’t understand his response!

  41. Hannibal Najjar

    I believe, that as Mr. Beach pointed, Dr. Rowley would have left it in the hands of his lawyers and that the IC may have as substantial a response as the law warrants/permits by the due date. Understanding the man from all of his years of political face-offs, and given his close proximity to legal counsel vis-a-vis, his wife, Dr. Rowley would know just how he is required to act in situations as this – he would hardly leave anything to chance at this stage.

  42. This seems more like an abuse of power in my opinion. The reality is that they’re seeking information from 2004 on an issue that was already closed. It’s meant to be a distraction from his campaign which is in full momentum and they’re using the threat of legal action to sidetrack his attention. So his response to them is that he’s not going to be deterred in his focus. Not that he won’t respond, but that his priority is not on an issue which has been cold and in the ground for years

  43. The IC is incompetent . But Dr Rowley and the PNM must be consistent in its condemnation. They should not lift up the institution when it suits them like when Mc Donald claimed she was vindicated of corruption allegations. Dr Rowley accepted her explanation knowing that the investigation was reopened . From first hand knowledge their investigators are very slow and inexperienced. I believe they would have written Dr Rowley for some foolish administrative matter like the address of one of his bankers .

  44. The IC is a legal body but on what grounds is it threatening? Has it done an investigation and found Rowley guilty of something? The whole issue ridiculous.

  45. To add, I hope people noticed that Zainool decided to fire off this salvo while the Registrar (Martin Farrell) is away on vacation.

  46. Questions were asked and answered, apologies were made, 1.5 million dollars was paid to Dr. Rowley for the inconvenience, commissioners resigned thereafter. The issue has been done and dusted for 11 years. Two weeks before a general election you’re sending threatening letters about the issue? You? The Integrity Commission?

    This demonstrates that clearly the commission has no integrity of its own. And you have to be outraged at this point! Trinbagonians have always been accused of being too complacent. We are at the point where ALL of our institutions that suppose to uphold decency and the rule of law for a just and moral society are for what it seems, compromised by eat-ah-food behavior!

    Keithos vex but we the people should be damn vex too. Earl Lovelace’s ‘The wine of astonishment’ comes to mind!
    Bolo! Bolo Bolo!!!

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