During a walkabout in St Joseph on Monday, Rowley responded to statements made by the Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. He stated, “I heard her talking about ministers’ wives and identifying contracts given to ministers’ wives and all she is trying to do is to find company for the Government that she led that was tarnished with corruption.”
He continued, “I have served as Opposition Leader for five years. I worked under Patrick Manning for ten years in Opposition, Mrs. Persad-Bissessar is an embarrassment to this country,” he said.
At a United National Congress (UNC) meeting in Barrackpore last Friday, Persad-Bissessar said she had documents to show that the wife of a Government minister had received some $55 million in contracts from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).
Rowley pointed out that the figures Persad-Bissessar quoted were earnings from a previous period and not under the PNM administration.
“Some of it were contracts which these companies received under her administration, but she speaks now amalgamating the earnings of these companies and deliberately giving the country the impression that those contracts took place under this Government. If ministers’ wives were fed as she is claiming, then she fed them because the contracts that she is pointing to, as far as I am aware, were not awarded by this Government,” he said.
He added: “She seems to be mixing up earning money and tieing money. The last government was thrown out of office for stealing money. The whole country knew the government was corrupt. She is now saying that if somebody earns money and wins a contract it’s one and the same thing. We make a distinction between a contractor of any ilk, it doesn’t matter who the contractor is if a contractor wins a contract and earns money, more power to that contractor.”
“What was happening in this country under her watch was that contractors were being overpaid, getting contracts in questionable circumstances and the Treasury was being raided, and if she doesn’t see a difference the PNM does and I am sure the population will too,” the Prime Minister added.