UNC members ‘targets’ of Whistleblower Protection Bill


Dr Roodal Moonilal

OROPOUCHE East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal says members of the Opposition have been designated as “targets” by the government which is trying to get whistleblowers to accuse them of corruption.

He also challenged the Prime Minister to say whether Government is paying money to foreign law firms to get whistleblowers to make unfounded claims against Opposition members.

In his response to Dr Rowley who piloted debate on the Whistleblower Protection Bill 2022 in the House of Representatives on Friday, Moonilal reflected on Rowley’s statements that threats were made to kill him, while he was opposition leader, by people who were involved in corruption.

Rowley said, as opposition leader he was being driven around in a bulletproof vehicle because of the threats.

While he condemned those who threaten the lives of public officials, Moonilal asked if Rowley was still being driven in a bulletproof vehicle. He said if this was so, then “crime is out of control and the Minister of National Security is out of control too.”

After asking why Rowley and not Hinds was piloting the bill, Moonilal asked if the debate was “a distraction from the countless scandals (facing the Government).” He alleged some of those scandals included Government paying the litigation expenses of whistleblowers through foreign law firms, so they could implicate UNC members in corruption.

“I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears that we are referred to as targets.”

He claimed Drumcliffe Partners in Washington DC, Sequor Law in Miami, and an unnamed law firm in London were the firms involved. Moonilal alleged one firm was owed $20 million by the government.

He wondered if this was a case of having “slept with the devil and now wanting to roll out of the bed.” Moonilal withdrew the statement after being cautioned by Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George.

Referring to Rowley’s statement that Cambridge Analytica (CA) “cut its navel string in TT” and helped the PP win the May 24, 2010 general election, Moonilal quipped that some people “had a political orgasm of some sort” when those allegations were made.

CA was a British political consulting firm, established in 2013, which was allegedly used to influence elections in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, India, Malta, Kenya and Australia. CA shut down on May 1, 2018.

Moonilal claimed CA whistleblower Christopher Wylie refused to give information to the police and disappeared because he was not being paid for his evidence.

“The pink haired man (Wylie) could not be found.”

As an opposition MP and ex- government minister, Moonilal said, “I am a whistleblower and I have been punished as a whistleblower.” He reminded MPs that for six years he had to face action in court from a state enterprise after he claimed there was corruption at that entity. Moonilal said that company later withdrew its case.

He recalled, that as housing minister in 2010, having meetings with contractors owed money by the previous PNM government. Some of those people, Moonilal claimed, wanted to meet with him alone and told him they had no problem dealing with the new government in the way they did with its predecessor.

“I had a sneaky suspicion that something fishy was happening around me.”

As an Opposition MP, Moonilal said it was whistleblowers who respectively told him how Shanghai Construction Group abandoned the construction of the new central block of the Port of Spain General Hospital, and about questionable activities which led to part of South Trunk Road, along Mosquito Creek, collapsing.

He added he was not surprised that in both cases, claims were made about a contractor “who is pouring concrete in a party’s headquarters.”

Describing the legislation as a “gestapo bill”, Moonilal said it offered no effective means of protecting bonafide whistleblowers, and innocent people could face heavy fines or imprisonment for presenting fake information to authorities.

Owing to TT’s history and the way its society has been shaped over time, Moonilal said no one who knows about corruption will come forward to expose the wrongdoers. “This is a society of fear.”

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