Port of Spain Trinidad: The ruling PNM is setting the stage to declare
a state of emergency, Opposition Chief Whip Ganga Singh says.
His comments came during a media conference at around 10.30 pm on
Tuesday at the Rienzi Complex, Couva, after an emergency meeting of the party’s executive held to discuss strategies
the party would implement while its leader Basdeo Panday remains in jail.
Singh said Panday would remain the party leader no matter how long
he remained incarcerated.
Panday was jailed on Tuesday, after he refused bail on a charge
of corruptly receiving a £25,000 (approximately $290,000) reward from Carlos John and Ishwar Galbaransingh in connection with
the Piarco International Airport development project.
Singh said Panday’s arrest, while he was having a meeting
with visiting Indian parliamentarians, was a vulgar display of the abuse of power taking place in T&T.
He accused the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau of bowing to
the political directorate.
“They appear to be taking direction from the political arm
rather than the commissioner of police,” said Singh, who claimed Supt Maurice Piggott called the media beforehand to
announce Panday’s pending arrest.
“That is why you had members of the media camped outside the
home of Mr Panday. And they appeared in full force at the office of the Leader of the Opposition.”
Singh said Panday’s arrest may be another smokescreen to cover
up Government’s inability to deal with crime.
“Has the arrest of Mr Panday stopped the murders and the crimes
of violence taking place in this country? The answer is ‘no.’”
He also said the PNM was covering up the Dansam Dhansook bribery
allegation against former Works and Transport Minister Franklin Khan and Energy Minister Eric Williams.
He also referred to Williams’ ownership of Maranatha Geophysical
Services Ltd—a company contracted by bpTT—and the Landate scandal involving Dr Keith Rowley.
“You have no police going to the home of Franklin Khan, Eric
Williams, Keith Rowley or the other ministers who it is alleged are engaged in corruption,” Singh said.
Singh also said Panday’s refusal to accept bail was not political
He said the fact that Panday chose to remain in the poor conditions
in jail was testimony the UNC leader is willing to fight.
“When Nelson Mandela was put in jail, when Mahatma Gandhi
was put in jail, they weren’t grandstanding, they were making symbolic points...,” he said.
“If you see your country going down the slippery slope to
anarchy and to the erosion of fundamental rights and freedom and to the erosion of democracy, then you must make a stand,
and if going to jail makes that stand, Mr Panday has demonstrated that leadership quality.”
Singh said Panday’s wife, Oma, who had also been charged with
bribery, and his daughters were traumatised.
Singh also revealed that Pointe-a-Pierre MP Gillian Lucky, who fell
out with Panday, assisted in the processing of bail for Mrs Panday.
Speaking about Panday’s treatment while in jail, Singh said
the Opposition leader needed medicine to treat a cardiac condition and diabetes.
He said Panday was allowed two visits a day while being held in
the Maximum Security Prison at Golden Grove.
“We have put private medical care on standby, we hope that
the membership would pray that Panday continues to rally strongly while he is a ward of the State, but the responsibility
is that of the State to secure him and his health also.”
UNC starts political meetings
Starting last night in Gasparillo, the UNC has planned a series
of political meetings, party chairman Wade Mark announced on Tuesday night.
Tonight, the UNC heads to Cacandee Road in Felicity, Chaguanas,
and tomorrow to the Croisee in San Juan.
The youth arm will meet on Saturday at Panday’s Couva North
office and on Sunday there will be a motorcade from Chaguanas to the Eco Park at St Helena