Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said while people are anxious to hear her speak on “Marlenegate” as an attorney she knows best when to keep her mouth shut.
However, she declared that personal insults and false accusations from political opponents are nothing new to her as she used Michelle Obama’s words to say “When they go low – we go high!”
“I’m not going to go into Marlenegate, I think there are a lot of people who are anxious for me to talk about Marlenegate, all I would say about Marlenegate is this, the matter is sub judice,” she said adding that as a lawyer she knows when she should and should not speak.
The former Prime Minister spared to words in criticising the Keith Rowley led Government as she accused them of using “fake news” to distract from pressing issues in this country such as the “scandal” surrounding the multi million dollar housing contract with China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co Ltd (CGGC) and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).
Persad-Bissessar was speaking at the UNC’s “Pavement” meeting at a public meeting at the New Grant Government school on Wednesday night.
This was the firs time that Persad-Bissessar has spoken publicly since last Monday when the Prime Minister accused her of tipping off former Government Minister Marlene McDonald of police arrest.
On Monday the Prime Minister attributed Persad-Bissessar’s silence on the issue to a disease commonly found in fowls called “pip”.
Persad-Bissessar opened her speech by saying “I want to assure you I do not have any pip but I do have a bit of a flu virus,”.
She said over the years she has had to bear “obscene invectives, vitriolic degradation, vindictive abasement, spiteful lies,”.
Persad-Bissessar further recalled that in 2007 said stood on a UNC stage at Mid Centre Mall and shared some of what she had to endure.
“I revealed how I bore the brunt of the whims, insecurities and misogynistic attitudes of certain colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. And despite all the years of untruths, vilification and defamation….yet still…I rise. So I say here to Keith Rowley tonight: more accomplished men than you have unsuccessfully tried to degrade, demean, slander and humiliate me. I have consigned them all to the political graveyard,” she said.
“I have been falsely accused of conspiracy to commit murder. Yet still...I rise. Plots were hatched to dishonestly link me to “plant-like substances”. Yet still…I rise. Malicious hearsay that slandered my name, abounded over the past few days, even as I recuperated from an illness.
Yet still…I rise,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said Rowley and his “cohorts can concoct whatever untruths they want. I will not be daunted,”.
Persad-Bissessar focused on the scrapped Chinese deal as she called on the Prime Minister to answer questions on this matter.
She also disclosed that she intends to write the Integrity Commission on Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s Picton street apartments project and to investigate the Minister for any possible breaches of the Integrity in Public Life Act as he was the one who piloted a Bill which gave tax exemptions for such developments.
Persad-Bissessar urged the public to not be distracted by the Government’s “fowl talk” and other distractions from the serious issues plaguing the country.
“They feel they can continue to govern through lies, through fake news, through all kinds of bird brain conspiracies, that is how they think they can fool the people of this country,” she said.
Turning to the Chinese contract, Persad-Bissessar said the framework agreement signed a year ago is identical to the contract that was signed earlier this year.
She questioned therefore how was it possible that the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, the Finance Minister and other Cabinet members could claim that they were not aware of the sweetheart provisions to be given to the Chinese firm.
Persad-Bissessar said there are many unanswered questions and then there is the Prime Minister attacking the BBC and accusing it of sending “codes”.
“You really have to wonder if this is the man in charge of our country. But so be it,” she said.
“There are two ways of looking at all of this, one is to say that he’s deliberately creating distractions and the other option is to say well that is what Manning warned us about, he’s just behaving true to fault...he’s just a disgusting human being,” she added.
She called on Rowley to answer why the Government chose this CGGC which is on the World Bank’s watch-list and also to answer how much taxpayers’ money will be spent in cancelling the contract.
She said under her Government such major contracts would first be brought to the Cabinet and then sent to the AG’s office to be vetted.
Persad-Bissessar said under this Government there were five Ministers “grinning from ear to ear” when the contract was signed and then turning around and saying they knew nothing about it.