Somebody is lying….and lying badly…..about the use of the use of the data firm Cambridge Analytica.
Is the UNC or the COP lying?
The PNM certainly feels so that is why Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is taking the matter to Parliament for debate.
Both the UNC and the COP have denied using this company during the PP Government’s term in office.
The latest denial comes from former COP leader, Prakash Ramadhar.
On Saturday, Ramadhar said his party used British behavioural research and strategic communication company, the SCL Group, an entity closely related to Cambridge Analytica.
Ramadhar added, “We were not involvd. The COP never engaged in any illegal activity.”
Cambridge Analytica, a firm part-founded by Steve Bannon, former adviser to United States President Donald Trump, was exposed for using citizens private details lodged on Facebook for the election of Trump, for illegally assisting the Brexit lobby, and interfering in elections in places including Kenya and Bihar, India.
Details have emerged from the testimony to the British parliament of whistle-blower and Cambridge Analytica former research head Christopher Wylie, 28, and Britain’s Channel Four Television’s secret video recording of Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO Alexander Nix offering to use Ukrainian prostitutes and cash bribes to sway Sri Lanka’s general election.
Ramadhar said, “You take us to a whole new realm of which I have no knowledge. We were not involved in any electronic campaign at all. The COP’s campaign was very different from anybody else’s. So please let’s be very clear about it.
“I will tell you the COP did in fact have some work with SCL early on for local government elections in 2013 into early 2014, and then that was it.
“So we have no involvement in that 2015 campaign with SCL or Cambridge Analytica.”
“Our work with SCL was that they were showing us what they could do in terms of press releases, party imaging and streamlining the party, and we parted company in 2014 or thereabouts.
“What I will tell you is that we participated in nothing illegal or inappropriate.”
What about the obtaining of individuals’ private details such as one’s daily beverage consumption or which web-sites one visits, dubbed data mining.
Ramadhar replied, “I can tell you personally I’m not on social media. I was born in an era that believes in paper, writing, and at the most I will look at YouTube videos. So I’m not into that era, that level, but I know the technology has dramatically moved on.
“For example you look at a show on Netflix and the next time you come up (new shows) are recommended for you. There are computer programmes that look at everything we do and say and buy and work out what our next preference might be.”
On Saturday, the Guardian reported UNC officials denying knowledge of the party acquiring citizens private phone numbers from State agencies such as TSTT, TTEC, WASA, TTPost and GATE, but for one attendee at a meeting of June 4, 2014 admitting to asking party honchos if such acquisition would be crossing a line or breaking the law.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a joint select committee of Parliament would be set up to look into the data-mining allegations. Prior to this, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi had said an audit of several ministries would be done to determine if any data had been wrongfully gathered.