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

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

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?!”

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. “OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley was yesterday awarded close to $.5 million in damages for defamation of character …..with respect to the Landate Project and the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT).”


  2. “THE Integrity Commission yesterday conceded that the Landate affair was dead. It has been dead since August 2006, the commission’s attorney Jonathan Walker admitted”

  3. How many times must one be interrogated by “the few idiots that are left”? This is abuse

  4. I have dealt with them for two years with an open and shut case and they are still farting around .

  5. Politricking at it’s best!

  6. He should cooperate with the few idiots that are left . As incompetent as they are he has to answer their foolish questions.

  7. And he cooperated ages ago!!! Steups!!!

  8. Who is he supposed to cooperate with if everybody on vacation Adrian?

  9. Lasana Liburd is correct in this case . Dr Rowley should cooperate with the IC no matter how incompetent they may be. As I said above the PNM is too inconsistent by one minute praising the IC and the next minute condemning them.

  10. Life isn’t fair Loris Adams. To me, what you should try to do is to fix the game.
    Where would we be as a country if we all tried to cheat? Can’t we already see where that is taking us as a country?

  11. I presume that given the long period of time involved, there is no statute barring of how far back the IC can go? Can any lawyers familiar with the legislation confirm?

  12. That does not matter Christopher Didier..the assets of the Public official along with their spouse are required to be declared to the IC

  13. Question: Isn’t the Landate project Sharon Rowley’s and not Dr Rowley’s?

  14. You walk into the gambling room knowing the cards/dice stacked against you.. and ppl still telling you be principled and play fair..

  15. hi ppl where was the integrity commission for the past eleven years well i just feel they should be charged for failing to do their job

  16. That matter has already been ventilated by the IC. Let them go dig up their files in their archives instead of being a deliberate nuisance days before a General Election.

  17. Dr. Rowley is not a Good Friday bobolee, ok. His met shyte with shyte………

  18. Two boxers in the ring one white one black.. white guy hitting after the bell, elbowing, biting, anything illegal you could think of etc.. black guy bruised and battered… black guy’s trainer told him to shout out in the ring “look a snake” and when the white guy turn to look knock him out… hear the black guy “nah I ain’t doing that, that ain’t fair”.. peace.. smh..,

  19. Everyone knows what he means. This case was looked into and decided back then. All of sa sudden two weeks before the elections IC, Kamla.s final, smear Rowley campaign, rears its head.

  20. In fairness though the PNM has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the Integrity Commission and their manifesto talks about reforming that body. His response is consistent in that regard.

  21. Totally support him on this matter

  22. One only has to speak with any of her drivers!

  23. It is likely they were baiting him. And I don’t think his response was what it should be. But that’s my opinion.
    All I can say is that, on the grounds that we are talking about a political figure telling the Integrity Commission to get stuffed over a matter regarding misbehaviour in public office, I disagree with the stance on principle.
    Now when you throw in the context of the proximity to election, the fact that it is Hosein and Rowley and a matter that was repeatedly investigated, that might be worthy of pause. I won’t deny that.
    But my principle issue with the thing stands.

    • I cannot agree with you on this one Lasana. As Martin Luther King wrote: “There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

  24. Unjust and oppressive regimes must be challenged, how we propose to chalenge them as a people may differ. we could protest, there could be a public outcry and condemnation, or we can challenge it based on legal principles, the choice is ours

  25. Not to get too biblical but parents often quoted the Bible where it says to honor your parents but never ever go on to the very next line where it says that parents should not provoke their kids to wrath!

  26. Lasana I here what you are saying but you cannot isolate that snippet to call a spade a spade.

    Dr. Rowley has gone through due process with regards to that particular issue so long ago! And as somebody pointed out earlier the matter is actually in the hands of his lawyers so he isn’t exactly ignoring the letter either. But if those who are sworn to uphold the law are now harrasing you with it then you are entitled to respond.

    The next question I ask is this… Was this a deliberate ploy by a commissioner to bait Dr. Rowley into such a response, in other words, to ignite “Rowdy Rowley”? If this is in fact the case then I have more issues with the Commission itself than Dr. Rowley’s response.

  27. Lasana Liburd…what do you personally think the outcome would be if legal proceeding are instituted if his official response to that letter is to put it in File 13?

  28. Melville Foster, please don’t feed the trolls. 😉

  29. I think it was unjust to expel Rowley from Parliament and deny his constituents a voice on the trumped up evidence presented.
    I would have supported a stance against Wade Mark then. I supported Kublalsingh’s civil disobedience against the highway.
    I just don’t see this as quite the same.
    Now Eko Watts is comparing it to the stance against slavery.
    Should Warner also ignore the IC? The police failed to act against Kamla on several issues including the marijuana on her window.
    Will Warner and everyone else be justified in ignoring the police, Watts?

    • But what you are ignorning is that Dr Rowley has already been cleared by both the IC AND a court. What is the rationale now for asking ANY question of him regarding a dead matter? On the face of it, he appears to be defying the IC, but I think you will find that he is actually well within the law. A man cannot be given his freedom by a court and another gov’t dept want to investigate him for the same offence, 11 years after. That’s a non-starter in my law books.

      In any event, the IC is a toothless bulldog. The immediate threat is to publish his name for non-cooperation, and because of the publicity already given to the issue, I don’t regard that as any embarrassment. 🙂

  30. because as I said earlier…if it was me in Dr. Rowley’s position….they woulda wait 11 more years for me to reply to that letter..and I was taking mih lock up easy easy easy too….let’s go down the legal road and see which end of that stick each person comes out on

  31. Slavery was a law and was represented by legal bodiesuntil successfully challenged

  32. no no Lasana Liburd I’m in NO WAY WHATSOEVER comparing Dr. Rowley to Ghandi…I’m making point to show how easily we fold to so called laws and to highlight for want of a better word a level of cowardice in our people to stand up against unjust persecution

  33. I don’t see the two situations as comparable, Nicole Ulerie. So I’ll agree to disagree on this one.

  34. the short version…the British had a monopoly on salt and charged heavy taxes, while making it illegal for any Indian to mine salt…he led a march of non cooperation and civil disobedience of the unjust law which was the beginning of the road to Indian independence from the British….salt…simple table salt….so yes…I am in total agreement of ignoring foolish frivolous laws even if it means making a jail to prove a point….but as I said earlier…our people are quite ready to roll over and allow themselves to be intimidated under the guise of “the law” and a “legal body”

  35. If Rowley’s stance was to do with the bulldozing of agricultural lands for instance, I would endorse that comparison.
    I stress that I am not anti-Rowley. I am just concerned that a bad precedent might be set here.

  36. What was the stance though, Lasana Liburd? Did he start stealing the salt or not paying the tax or was there a boycott of salt?

  37. There is no ignoring a legal body, if a legal body, properly constituted, wishes to make a case against the Opposition Leader and he is in effect challenging the integrity of the current chairman and the current constitution of the IC, then it is for the IC to prove the legitimacy of its case against Dr Rowley. Dr Rowley is obviously not convinced as to the current legitimacy of the IC or its allegation against him.

  38. Nicole Ulerie, in the case of the salt tax law, the British Gov’t took control of Indian salt works and then trebled the cost that Indian people would have to pay for its own resources.
    Gandhi was taking a stance for the welfare of his people.
    I would be wary of saying that a politician in a private matter should be compared to Gandhi eh.

  39. So Lasana, do you subscribe to the IC deeming it THAT important to their investigation, that the last 2 weeks of his campaign should be dedicated to providing information to them when they could have made the request months before or even after the election? What has come up that has become SO important that they need the information immediately?

  40. Nicole Ulerie, I don’t know what happened with the salt tax law. I know there was a tax on salt that he opposed (as the name clearly suggests. lol). Did he buy salt without paying the tax on it while advocating for the removal of the tax? I really don’t know, I’m asking…

  41. Rhoda Bharath, this is the comment that I interpreted as Rowley ignoring the law:
    “if I have to go to jail as a result of not responding to you in 14 days, come I am ready to go. “Because between now and September 7, I am busy with the people’s business. 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,” Rowley said.

  42. himself judging himself cannot compare to a court clearing you imho

  43. I believe if Government changes, there are PP ministers and board members who should answer for many things they were already cleared for during this administration.
    Would we then say it is abuse of process?
    I just believe if you take the personality out of the equation and just study the matter based on principle, some of the responses might be different.
    I agree that it looks like harassment. I agree the Integrity Commission has no moral authority and has lost the confidence of the people. And I agree the timing is peculiar.
    News might well come out that proves the whole thing was staged and then I have to take a different turn altogether.
    But I am wary about giving anyone a free pass to ignore a legal body.

  44. All I’m saying not just because its the law you should just lie down to die.. The IC seems to be on a mission..

  45. We’re looking at a situation that involves either 1) gross incompetence on the part of the IC by not being able to deal with this issue after so many years and the case being closed; 2) harassment by the IC because of Dr. Rowley’s intent to reform the IC, which means that the IC is functioning as a runaway horse without any control factors or accountability (where’s the President in this?); or 3) political interference, which is terrifying because it means that a legal arm that is meant to be impartial has again been compromised by the Gov’t

  46. I’ve seen people say that what Rowley really meant was he is prepared to make a jail if, after due process, the Integrity Commission felt he had a case to answer.
    That is obviously not what he is reported to have said in the political meeting. If he did, I would not have written.
    I can only write based on what a man actually says. Not what he meant to say or was thinking at the time eh. I don’t have those kinda powers.

  47. So Chabeth Haynes you are in agreement that Ghandi should have obeyed the British Salt Tax Law?

  48. Where in Rowley’s comments is he vowing to ignore the law?

    • I have been reading and commenting on that throughout this thread Rhoda. Ms Haynes breaksing from that question. Perhaps she is hoping that somehow something will materialize to support her misconception