Clint Chan Tack
The Opposition UNC, through Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, has called for Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to be referred to the Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives.
In raising the matter minutes before Finance Minister Colm Imbert concluded the 2022 budget debate, Moonilal claimed that Al-Rawi breached parliamentary privilege during his contribution to the debate on Friday.
He said the alleged breach occurred when Al-Rawi said in his contribution that when he said, “And the Leader of the Opposition (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) is also not telling the country that under her prime ministership..rented properties to…Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s members of family…received rentals from the government”
Moonilal said this statement “is absolutely false, untrue and misleading.” As the former housing minister in the UNC-led People’s Partnership coalition government, Moonilal said he had full access to cabinet notes and minutes.
“So I would have been aware of any such government rentals.” Moonilal said the Property and real Estate Services Division responsible for government rentals, also fell under his portfolio at that time.
Having known Persad-Bissessar and the members of her family for the last 30 years, Moonilal said, “I can categorically state and confirm that no family members of the Member for Siparia benefited from any government rentals.”
As a cabinet minister, Moonilal said Al-Rawi “has knowledge of the facts with easy, ready and available access to government records.” He added this suggested there is ready presumption that Al-Rawi made the statement with the intention to mislead the House.
Moonilal claimed Al-Rawi made his statement deliberately in response to the “truthfulness and assertions” made by Persad-Bissessar in her budget contribution to “the many lucrative and multi-million dollar rentals which he and his family benefit..”
In response to Moonilal, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George said she would rule on this matter at a subsequent sitting of the House.