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Dr Ingrid Buffonge

An uphill Task?

Hon Dr Ingrid Buffonge

Is Premier Romeo facing an uphill task to keep his government in power

by staff writer

Popular news this week pose that Premier Donaldson Romeo’s four-year-old government faces an uphill task to complete its first five-year term in office after an independent legislator filed a motion of no confidence in his administration.
The motion by Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, a former member of the ruling People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is scheduled to be heard on October 23.
Dr. Buffonge sits as an independent member of the Legislative Assembly, having left the PDM party after just a year. She did so ‘crossing the floor’, following much upheaval of dissatisfaction with the way she felt things were in particular in the area of health and more so with conditions especially the lack of equipment at the hospital. She, according to official sources served as a health advisor to the Minister of Health, which was part of her contractual duties to the government.
Buffonge, who received the second highest number of votes in the September 2014 elections on the PDM slate, resigned from the party a year later and two weeks ago, called for the resignation of Health Minister Delmaude Ryan. Willock had also called for Ryan’s resignation, saying that he supported Buffonge

Hon. Gregory Willock

In September 2014 general election, the PDM won seven of the nine seats in the Assembly, but since losing Buffonge, recently, in support of further grouse, personal and otherwise, Parliamentary Secretary Gregory Willock, who has acted as Minister in every Ministry except the Premier’s, formally resigned from the government and the party last week.
Prior to this, last year, Romeo dismissed Claude Hogan his agriculture minister. Earlier this week, with the pending motion in the Assembly, the crossing of the floor by Willock, putting four people on the side of the house, a call from the opposition leader for the government to resign, Hogan called on Premier Romeo to be “bold and put loyalty to country before any personal loyalty.
“There has been much change over the last week and with good reason,” he said in a statement somewhere, “Some people are looking to me to create further change to lead our nation out of the impasse our government finds itself in. I do not see the need for the constant rush to deny and exclude anyone.”
Hogan said that while he agrees that “further change has to come” it must come from the people themselves.
The 2014 general election was a victory for the newly established PDM, which was formed on April 30 that year, in order to contest the elections.
The party defeated the then ruling Movement for Change and Prosperity, which seats two members in the Legislative Assembly on the opposition benches.

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Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

Opposition not in agreement with deployment of RSS troops

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 16, CMC – The main opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) says it is not in agreement with a decision by the Timothy Harris government to allow for the deployment of members of the Regional Security Services (RSS) in a bid to  enhance the safety and security on the twin island Federation.

SKNLP leader and former prime minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has written to the chairman of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves expressing his party’s position on the matter. St. Kitts-Nevis belongs to the nine-member grouping.

Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas (File Photo)

In the letter, Douglas said that “since the coming to power of Dr Harris …(there has been) a palpable shift away from our position of democracy towards a dictatorship.

“The opposition is being systematically stifled through the illegal curtailment of our right to speak in parliament, to the denial of access to public spaces such as community centers and the denial of access to the state-owned radio and television,” Douglas said.

In a radio and television broadcast on Sunday night, Prime Minister Harris defended the deployment of the RSS troops telling the nation ‘we are concerned that there must be a reduction in the incidences of criminal acts in our country.

“In this regard, we have over time engaged civil society and our security forces in conversations about what can and should be done,” the Prime Minister said, adding that after consultation with the police high command and other technocrats in the Ministry of National Security , the Cabinet approved a recommendation to invite the RSS.

“The High Command of the Police has advised that the Force would benefit from additional manpower at this time.  The shortage of manpower affects the ability of the Police to properly execute their strategic plan and has prompted the call from them for the RSS to augment the number of security personnel on the ground.”

Harris said the RSS forces which started arriving here last week would “continue to arrive into St. Kitts and Nevis in sufficient numbers to assist our ongoing efforts at ensuring citizen safety and security”.

He said that they are already being deployed throughout the communities with local national security personnel, and it is believed that their presence will help local law enforcement to expand the extent of their coverage of the country.

But the Opposition Leader said that the party has understood there are plans to imprison key supporters in the coming weeks.

“We have learnt through our intelligence that the next phase of Dr Harris’ campaign of dictatorship will be the imprisonment of members of the opposition and key opposition supporters,” he said, noting that over the past four months, two senior police officers resident in his district and who performed security details for him had been shot “under unexplained circumstances.

“Two of the persons allegedly involved in the shooting deaths of the police officers have themselves been executed in shootouts, one in which the police was involved and the other under strange circumstances”.

Douglas further alleged that a police officer who had been assisting him was recently arrested and denied bail on the grounds that he was driving with an expired licence. He said the matter will be heard in court on November 29.

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Turkish investigators search Saudi Consulate where journalist was last seen

Turkish investigators search Saudi Consulate where journalist was last seen

A security officer looks out the doors of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Monday. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

October 15 at 8:08 PM

Turkish investigators were permitted to search Saudi Arabia’s consulate on Monday, 13 days after journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished while visiting the mission, as President Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the case with King Salman, the Saudi ruler.

As pressure mounted on Saudi Arabia to disclose what it knows about Khashoggi’s fate, U.S. officials began predicting over the weekend that the Saudis would inevitably admit complicity in the death of Khashoggi and claim a “botched operation,” said one person familiar with the discussions.

Over the past few days, Saudi officials have discussed issuing a statement that, in part, would mention a botched operation and call for the punishment of culpable officials, according to another person with knowledge of the discussions. The statement would be issued only after Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with Turkey on how to proceed with the investigation, the person said.

Speaking to reporters, Trump said Monday that he had talked for about 20 minutes with the king and that Salman had firmly denied the kingdom’s involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“I don’t want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump added. “Who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.” 

It was not clear whether Trump’s mention of “rogue killers” was his own speculation, a theory he had heard from the king or an intended confirmation that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, as Turkish investigators have concluded.  

Trump suggests Khashoggi disappearance ‘could have been rogue killers’

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President Trump told reporters Oct. 15 that Saudi King Salman “firmly denied” knowledge about the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, saying — without providing evidence — that he walked out of the consulate soon after entering Oct. 2.  

Trump said Pompeo has license to travel wherever necessary, including Turkey, to investigate what happened. The president first announced Pompeo’s trip in a tweet in which he said that Saudi Arabia is “working closely with Turkey to find answer.”

Trump said he stressed the importance of the case to Salman. “The world is watching. The world is talking. And this is very important to get to the bottom of it. And I think he understands that very well,” Trump said. “He did say, very strongly, that he’s dealing with Turkey; that they’ve come to an agreement, that they’re investigating it together. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Khashoggi’s family issued a statement Monday urging an “independent and impartial international commission” to look into his disappearance.

Activists in Vietnam say that President Trump’s decision to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership has dealt a blow to labor reforms and human rights.

“We are sadly and anxiously following the conflicting news regarding the fate of our father after losing contact with him two weeks ago, when he disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Our family is traumatized, and yearns to be together during this painful time. The strong moral and legal responsibility which our father instilled in us obliges us to call for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death. We are grateful to all those who have respected our privacy during these difficult times,” the statement said.

Trump’s comments came hours before a team of Turkish investigators arrived at the Istanbul consulate to conduct a search of the premises with Saudi Arabia’s cooperation. Turkish officials had complained publicly in recent days that the Saudis were refusing to allow a search of the property.  

An agreement allowing the inspection came after Salman called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday. Salman thanked him for welcoming the kingdom’s proposal to set up a “joint working group” to probe Khashoggi’s disappearance, a Saudi statement said.

But hours before the Turkish forensic team arrived, journalists photographed a cleaning crew entering the consulate, hauling buckets, mops and what appeared to be bottles of cleaning solution. When the Turkish investigators entered the consulate, some wearing white protective gear, they “smelled chemicals had been used,” according to two officials in contact with the investigators.  

“They are trying to make fun of us and our willingness to cooperate,” one of the officials said.  

Khashoggi lived in self-
imposed exile in the United States for the past year and wrote columns in The Washington Post criticizing the Saudi leadership. He visited the consulate Oct. 2 to obtain documents related to his upcoming wedding, but he was never seen leaving.

The Saudi government has faced intense pressure to reveal his fate. Turkish officials have released details of their investigation, including video that suggests a team of Saudi agents was dispatched to Istanbul to either capture Khashoggi or kill him. 

The Turkish government has also told the Trump administration that it has audio and video recordings of what occurred inside the consulate that day. U.S. officials have said this material supports the conclusion that Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and then killed. 

U.S. officials have also said that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plot.      

Trump has warned that Saudi Arabia would face “severe punishment” if it were found to have killed Khashoggi. And on Sunday, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement expressing “grave concern” about the case and calling for a “credible investigation.”

A defiant Saudi statement Sunday said the kingdom rejected any “threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations.” 

Democrats in Congress ridiculed the theory, floated by Trump, that “rogue killers” had slain Khashoggi.

“Been hearing the ridiculous ‘rogue killers’ theory was where the Saudis would go with this,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a tweet. “Absolutely extraordinary they were able to enlist the President of the United States as their PR agent to float it.”

As part of a growing international backlash against the Saudi government, an increasing number of prominent business leaders and companies have said they will no longer attend a major investment conference scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia this month. Several high-profile finance executives have withdrawn, including the heads of JPMorgan Chase and the asset management giants BlackRock and Blackstone Group. Their action came after tech and media executives said they would not participate.

On Monday, two more Washington lobbying firms dropped their representation of Saudi Arabia amid the escalating uproar over Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to people familiar with the decisions.

The Glover Park Group notified the Saudi Embassy in Washington that it was canceling its two-year-old contract to represent the kingdom, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The consulting firm, which was established in 2001 by Democratic political veterans, had been receiving a fee of $150,000 a month to help the Saudis with a range of government relations issues, according to disclosure reports filed with the Justice Department.

Separately, the GOP-founded lobbying powerhouse BGR Group, which had an $80,000-a-month contract with the Saudi government, announced that it was also dropping the kingdom as a client.

“BGR is no longer working for Saudi Arabia,” said Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, president of BGR’s public relations division.

In all, three major Washington lobbying firms have severed ties with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the reports that Khashoggi was killed. Late last week, the Harbour Group announced that it was terminating its relationship with the kingdom.

The defections underscore the depth of the crisis facing Saudi Arabia, which plowed $27 million into lobbying in Washington last year, making it one of the highest-spending countries seeking to influence U.S. policy, according to public records.

On Monday, the Saudi Embassy canceled a long-planned reception that was to be held Thursday evening honoring the country’s annual National Day, which commemorates the renaming of the kingdom in 1932.

Invited guests received a short email Monday morning informing them that the event was off.

“Please be advised that the reception for the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Thursday, October 18, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm has been canceled,” said the email, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. It did not explain the reason for the change in plans.

The reception would have been part of a weeks-long celebration. An embassy spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wagner reported from Washington. Erin Cunningham, Zeynep Karatas and Loveday Morris in Istanbul and Tom Hamburger, John Hudson and Jeanne Whalen in Washington contributed to this report.

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London visit Premier and Baroness Benjamin (OP Photo)

Premier Romeo seeks help from UK Officials on Capital Programme

London visit Premier and Baroness Benjamin (OP Photo)

The Honourable Premier Donaldson Romeo recently met with UK Government officials in London to discuss the proposed Capital Programme for Montserrat along with other related matters.

According to a release from the Office of the Premier, “Premier Romeo first met with FCO Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, who, during his visit to Montserrat in May of this year, became even more aware of the considerable trade and investment potential in Montserrat and the need for a strengthened partnership.

“It was against this backdrop that the Premier was assured that the FCO and DfID would collaborate with the Government of Montserrat (GOM) to produce a Montserrat Capital Programme that is fit for purpose, and would support critical investment in key infrastructure and transformative projects over the next five to ten years.

The premier also took the opportunity while there to network with other UK Parliamentarians who have been long-time supporters of Montserrat. In providing them with an update on the state of affairs in the island, Premier Romeo was careful to reiterate the challenges being faced in securing adequate support for the territory.

During separate discussions with both Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE and Honourable Andrew Rosindell, each offered to arrange high level meetings with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and Premier Romeo, to help secure the right deal for Montserrat which will in turn help to get the territory out of dependency on British taxpayers money.

Baroness Benjamin urged the Premier to keep her abreast of ongoing activities and confirmed her continued support for the country and people of Montserrat.

London visit September 2018 Premier with Andrew Rosindell (OP Photo)

Hon. Andrew Rosindell, is a Conservative MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for 13 UK Territories, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and longtime advocate and friend of Montserrat, is familiar with Montserrat’s unique challenges and continues to support the need for urgent investment in essential and transformational infrastructure over the medium to long term.

Rosindell also agreed to support Premier Romeo’s suggestion that June 25 be commemorated annually, not only in Montserrat, but also in the UK and across the Diaspora, in thanksgiving for God’s goodness, and in remembrance of those who died in Montserrat onJune 25, 1997, and the many evacuees who have since died in involuntary exile overseas, mainly in the UK, without realizing their hope of returning to live in their homeland.

The Hon. Premier was also advised that GOM can expect to hear more questions being asked of the FCO and DfID by Hon. Rosindell and other UK Parliamentarians in relation to Montserrat.

Premier Romeo ended his visit with a number of important meetings with potential investors regarding opportunities in Montserrat. No further details on the proposed capital programme for the island was given.

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Hon. Easton Taylor Farrell

Opposition leader calls for general elections

Hon. Easton Taylor Farrell

In the meantime, whether strategically or otherwise, leader of the Opposition which will now seat four members, Easton Taylor Farrell is calling for the government to ‘step down’ and bring about general elections. …” …it is the position of the parliamentary opposition that the Government of Montserrat led by the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo and his Ministerial team and out benchers should step down and allow the people of Montserrat to make their choice,” he said.

The move suggests Farrell’s possible thoughts that even if a motion of no confidence should carry and without a prepared unit to continue government from his side, government can continue to function through to the due time for the elections.

He quietly stated in a statement aired by ZJB radio: “…The Government’s inability to deliver cannot be exhibited to any one member of the government but rather to all six of them who continue to support the in-actions of the government over these past four years.”

He reminds that all the Ministers are collectively responsible for decisions taken to cabinet and as a result must be accountable to you the people for their failures, adding: “Over these past four years. All of them have continued to support the Premier without murmur. None of them have resigned from their Ministerial post and no back bencher has crossed the floor.”

He accused, “…they have all placed their personal interest above that of the country and they are all guilty of neglect

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Hon. Gregory Willock

Willock resigns from PDM puts 4 In opposition

MCAP calls for new polls

Hon. Gregory Willock

On Tuesday this week, following his rant last week during which he came out in support of the Hon. Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, Hon. Gregory Willock resigned all but his legislative seat in the Legislative Assembly.

Willock resigned his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary, and as a member of the questionable existence of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), sending a letter to the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo, copied to His Excellency the Governor Andrew Pierce and the Hon. speaker of the Legislative Assembly Shirley Osborne. (see letter here).

This new development comes after Dr. Buffonge, having returned from her one-year master’s degree studies in the UK as she described, said the island’s healthcare was in bad condition, citing the sudden departure of three medical doctors among other issues. But she had her own personal complaints as she found she had to wait for a contract to be concluded as was required, so she can work as a doctor.

Willock had followed this, throwing his already disgruntled position against the Minister, saying he supported Dr. Buffonge’s claims standing with Dr. Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

The premier followed Buffonge’s statement by saying he stood behind his health minister, invoking an accusation from her when he quoted something out of scripture when he said: “He who must destroy others to succeed must know that destruction awaits him at the gate of his success.  In other words, be careful not to dig a hole for yourself.” Sounded much like, “What Goes Around Comes Around”. She said that it was a serious threat, and that the premier was attempting to suppress criticism.

In the meantime, Minister Ryan spent a long time on radio responding to Dr. Buffonge’s claims. She was adamant about not stepping down from her Ministry, and explained in some detail the state of the Health Ministry.

Willock then said he stood with Dr Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

There has been no comment from the other members of the (PDM) government members, Minister Lewis, and deposed Minister Hogan, who has been off island, while news of a ‘motion of no-confidence’ in the government has reportedly been filed with the speaker.

There is a long and old background to the Gregory ‘Saga’ Willock sojourn in or with the Government. Speculations are that his actions are all part of a strategy for immediate changes in government or preparation for new parties to contest the due elections from September next year.

In September 2015 Willock had hit the ZJB air waves to clarify rumours that he had left the PDM party, which had already given indication that there was serious disunity among the government members.

Willock had explained he had been in discussion with the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo about stepping down from the position as parliamentary secretary to avoid some of the conflicts which were arising in the party over his desire to push for the ratification of a new legislators conditions of pay.

He claimed the current position is outdated and should have been adapted to suit the current requirements as laid out in the Montserrat Constitution Order of 2010; that the legislators conditions of pay in use does not deal adequately with issues of gratuity, pensions, vacation for legislators, he added.

Willock explained that due to some party members not in agreement with his push to have this document updated and approved to the benefit of all legislators, he said he would prefer to remain only as a member of Parliament. Currently, he supports the sectors of culture, youth and supports in his role as parliamentary secretary. A role he said he is not compensated for over and above what is the standard payment for members of Parliament.

“I’m not here all about Gregory as I have been working for over a year as Parliamentary Secretary without additional pay,” he said. “I want to work for the people.”

Premier Romeo had little to say then, regarding Willock’s position the Premier: “Please also do not think that there is anything wrong with the Honorable Gregory Willock proposing to step back from the Parliamentary Secretary post and remain a part of the PDM team,” he said, giving his commitment regarding his government’s position repeating his earlier comments regarding their forward movement as it relates to his government’s performance for the previous year.


Willock’s position then had come just after the announcement of Dr. Buffonge’s resignation from the party.

We reported it was a surprise move, though from the beginning “she had shown some restlessness in her relationship with the PDM.” She resigned a week after she had spoken on ZJB radio at length recapping her role in the first year of the PDM in office. She had said that people were somewhat impatient, but she declared at the end of her recap, having called for unity and togetherness: “…people can look forward to a stronger more assertive PDM in the future with better decision making and faster progress with some restructuring…, I am asking the public don’t give on the PDM just yet. This is still a strong red machine, there is a lot of positive to come in the near future.”

Her position this time in 2018 had been little different, but Willock thought it prudent, having had more than he can take working with or under Minister Ryan.

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Speaker reserves ruling on sending opposition legislator to Privilege Committee

Speaker reserves ruling on sending opposition legislator to Privilege Committee

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 10, CMC – The Speaker of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament, Bridgid Annisette-George, Wednesday reserved her ruling on whether or not to send an opposition legislator to the Privileges Committee as Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley denied allegations that he has a bank account in the United States.

Government legislators moved to have Dr. Roodal Moonilal sent to the Committee after he sought to link Prime Minister Rowley with the bank account.

Dr. Rupert Moonilal (Left) and Prime
Minister Dr. Keith Rowley (File Photo)

Moonilal told Parliament on Tuesday that he had travelled to Miami on several occasions as he investigated the issue and that his information had “pointed me to a bank in Florida, C and C International Trading Regents Bank.”

Moonilal said the bank has documents calling for additional attention, addressed to two people, one Vidia Deokiesingh and a second name he could not call in Parliament.

But in a statement to Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rowley said he wanted to set the record straight and described the statements by Moonilal as “spurious and wholly untrue”.

Rowley recalled that Moonlial had made similar allegations last December and was forced to withdraw them and that the opposition legislator aware of the fact that the proceedings are carried and broadcast live via radio, television and on the world wide web to a global audience to malign, is again attempting “to damage me, and other members of the government with complete fabrications of untruths.

“Madame Speaker, this type of behaviour is un-parliamentary, unbecoming of any member of parliament and to be condemned. It is deserving of being brought before the privileges committee of the parliament and appropriately dealt with.”

Rowley said that the latest statement made by the opposition legislator on Tuesday “was carefully, intentionally and maliciously calculated to defame me, damage me and my reputation.

“He imputed impropriety to me and provided only bogus documents. This is unacceptable and cannot be left unchallenged. I state here, as I have done already elsewhere, that there is absolutely no truth to what the member for Oropouche East has stated and/ or imputed.

“I have no bank account in Miami, USA; I was not party to any banking transaction with Mr Deokiesingh, Formula One Trading or any person or persons with respect to any bank in Florida, the United States, or any bank in the world for that matter Madame Speaker.”

Rowley called on Moonilal to provide Parliament with the document, “this bank document that he got wind of, made trips to Miami to get and has in his possession, to you, the House and to the media outside of Parliament.

“I have observed that as he has taken ownership of his performance within these walls he has since confirmed his libel outside. The treatment of this development is for another day in another place.

“Madame Speaker, I have today instructed my Attorneys at Law to write to the Bank that the address he quoted seems to be at, “Regions Bank, 8200 NW 36th Street, Doral, Florida 33166” to obtain from them confirmation that I have never done any banking with them whatsoever, because this is the truth,” Rowley said.

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Prime Minister to take legal action against opposition legislator

Prime Minister to take legal action against opposition legislator

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 10, CMC –Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley is to take legal action against opposition legislator, Dr. Roodal Moonilal over statements he made linking him to a “beneficiary bank account” in the United States, his lawyer Michael Quamina said Wednesday.

Moonilal said he maintains his position despite the threat of legal action, saying “I am standing by what I said on the Hansard record”.

Rowley has already described as a “monster lie’ and a heinous crime” the statements made by Moonilal in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on Tuesday during the debate on the 2018-19 national budget.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowle (Right) flanked by his
attorney Michael Quamina (CMC Photo)

Speaking at a news conference, Quamina said that while the original statements made by Moonilal in the Parliament were protected by parliamentary privilege, a Facebook posting on the opposition legislator’s social media page, opened the way for the legal action to be taken.

He said that Moonilal by his activities “after the sitting (of Parliament) last night, led to a repetition of the defamatory statements.

“One such action is that he has shared this on Facebook media, which post clearly says this is the first time in the history of Trinidad and Tobago’s parliamentary democracy that the primary ministers of government including the prime minister declined to participate in a budget debate….This comes amid major allegations levelled by the opposition and in particular documentary evidence by Dr. Moonilal of gross financial wrongdoing by the Prime Minister.

“Dr. Rowley, his Attorney General, National Security Minister and Leader of the House have not responded to the allegations of corruption linked to the already damaging PETROTRIN…issue. That was posted by Dr. Moonilal. That without a question is Dr. Moonilal confirming what he said in the parliament and in the circumstances it is our intention to launch an action in relation to Dr. Moonilal with respect to these statements.

“I will also be having a careful look at the interviews which Dr. Moonilal has conducted during the course of the day and adding to that claim,” said Quamina, flanked by Prime Minister Rowley.

He said legal action would also be taken against persons, particular paid bloggers “who choose to comment adversely in relation to my client.

‘They are not protected by parliamentary privilege,” he added.

Prime Minister Rowley said he had no “banking relationship” in the United States and described Moonilal’s statements as a ‘fabrication” and blamed also the main opposition United national Congress (UNC) of seeking to “tie me in my capacity Member of Parliament and Prime Minister with the issues relating to a private company”.

Rowley said he had instructed the Commissioner of Police to launch a probe into the allegations as well as the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and that the Attorney General Faris Al Rawi to use the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to communicate with the authorities in the United States on the matter.

He said the investigations from all parties should be made public.

Moonilal, who maintained his position even after Rowley’s news conference, told legislators on Tuesday that he had travelled to Miami on several occasions as he investigated the issue and that his information had “pointed me to a bank in Florida, C and C International Trading Regents Bank.”

Moonilal said the bank has documents calling for additional attention, addressed to two people, one Vidia Deokiesingh and a second name he could not call in Parliament.

Moonilal said a bank document before him had the names of Deokiesingh and another person who could not be named in Parliament.

“I have a couple more points to make so I’ll just indicate according to your ruling, I’ll just indicate that the two names I have here, additional attention, “V.I.D.Y.A. D.E.O.K.I.E.S.I.N.G.H and the second name K.E.I.T.H R.O.W.L.E.Y,” Moonilal said after he was first cautioned by the Speaker and challenged by government legislators.

But Rowley told reporters that over the years he has been doing “whatever I have to do to lead a government based on morality in public affairs and over the decades conducted myself in a manner …as to prevent malicious persons making allegations that are untrue”.

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CNN Busines

CNN – Reliable Sources, today snippets

Exec summary: WarnerMedia announces a streaming service… President Trump phones it in to Fox News again… Hearst shakes up its editor ranks… Civil Media admits that it’s having trouble… plus much more…


Television journalists standing out in the rain and wind is a staple of hurricane coverage. Some viewers love it, others think it’s ridiculous. No matter what you think, Wednesday showed the limits of those spectacular live shots.
Hurricane Michael was so ferocious that reporters near the center of the storm could not physically stand in the worst of the winds. Some broadcasters used the relative safety of a sturdy building to remain outside, while shielded from the gusts. Others retreated inside and even barricaded themselves inside interior rooms until the eyewall passed. Some news crews were forced off the air because cell towers and satellite phones were no match for the monster. Case in point, NBC’s Mariana Atencio tried to call into “Nightly News” from Port St. Joe — viewers heard her say “it looks like a massive tornado hit” — but her signal was barely audible.

Later in the evening, Tampa Bay Times reporter Zack Sampson, in the same town, said he could only get cell service at the top of a nearby bridge. “Even the cops are here, high above the intracoastal, using their phones,” he tweeted. “They say even their communication systems are down.” 

Reporters are trying to get to Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and other devastated communities, but roads are blocked “by just about everything that Mother Nature can throw at you,” CNN’s Miguel Marquez said…

Thursday’s top story will be:

Michael had a relatively small inner core, but it was still intensifying as it reached the Florida panhandle. So there’s a swath of land just to the east of Panama City that experienced tornado-like conditions.

Michael’s strength was “shocking,” Sam Champion said on Chris Cuomo‘s CNN program.

“When we get some daylight into these areas” on Thursday, “the damage is just going to be horrifying.” And the path of damage extended into south Georgia…

Moment of impact

As the eyewall passed by Panama City Beach at 1 p.m. ET, CNN’s John Berman said the wind felt like “small nails” hitting his face. That image stuck with me all afternoon.

NBC, ABC and CBS all aired special reports as Michael’s eye came ashore between 1 and 2. Lester Holt, appearing on NBC’s special report from inside a hotel room, said he could feel the sliding glass doors shaking. The crew took apart the bed and put the mattress in front of the window in case it shattered. “You know, we want to be on the air, but we’ve got to take care of each other,” Holt told anchor Kate Snow. “Know that we’re safe but we’re going to have to sign off.” Holt came back on about five minutes later and showed that the room was barricaded…

Tech difficulties

By 6:30 p.m., Holt and his nightly news rivals were able to step outside and show some of the damage. Jeff Glor anchored the “CBS Evening News” with just a LiveU video transmission unit and a single functional cell phone. 

Exec producer Mosheh Oinounou talked with Glor via correspondent Nikole Killion‘s phone… Her signal was used to feed Glor the show in his ear, direct camera shots, send scripts and notes, etc…

The big picture

Brian Lowry emails: It’s difficult to connect a breaking news story to a larger issue, in the same way a mass shooting can appear to be an unseemly time to discuss gun control. But Hurricane Michael and terrifying images out of Florida are already prompting some to connect the recent spate of catastrophic weather to the U.N. Climate report, and the political implications of failing to act. John Dean, for example, tweeted about Republicans rejecting climate science, amid a spate of editorials addressing the need for action and what the LAT characterized as “lack of political will.”

How to talk about hurricanes now

Notice how news outlets tend to call hurricanes like Michael a “natural disaster?” CNN’s John D. Sutter points out that we continue to use that term, “natural,” but “doing so — especially in the era of climate change — is misleading if not dangerous.” He spoke with several disaster experts and climate scientists about this. “The phrase ‘natural disaster’ is an attempt to lay blame where blame really doesn’t rest,” Kerry A. Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT and a global expert on hurricanes, told Sutter…

Trump’s show must go on?

That’s my takeaway from his decision to go ahead with Wednesday night’s rally in PA. Back in 2012, he criticized Barack Obama for campaigning in the wake of Sandy. But on Wednesday he said he couldn’t let down his fans.

After the rally, Trump called into Fox’s 11 p.m. program, “Fox News @ Night,” marking anchor Shannon Bream‘s first interview with Trump as president. Trump also called into Judge Jeanine’s show last weekend…

 >> Related: Jason Schwartz and Gabby Orr‘s latest for Politico: Fox News is no longer carrying every Trump rally live, and “some in the White House are worried that the president is losing a megaphone to his base…”



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