Dr Keith Rowley

 Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley 

Prime Minister Dr.Keith Rowley says he has no doubt that there are people in this country who would have preferred him to be held in handcuffs and charged with misusing public money.

Since that can’t happen, Rowley said the next best thing critics can do is question his judgement in dealing with the Marlene McDonald fiasco.

At today’s post cabinet media briefing, the Prime Minister lashed out at critics who came down on him for taking too long to fire McDonald.

Rowley, who is also head of the National Security Council, insisted that he did not get full details of the matter from an official source until about 10.30 pm on Sunday.

“And this information I was getting then wasn’t that she was being questioned but that charges were being written at that time,” he stated.

Rowley said it was only then he began taking steps to remove McDonald from Cabinet.

He said he first learnt that McDonald and others were taken into Police custody via a whatsapp message on someone else’s phone on Thursday.

“Here I was, head of the Cabinet, head of the National Security Council, and I am being fed information from somebody’s Whatsapp that a member of the Cabinet is in police custody, for what I don’t know,” he said

“And this happened on Thursday and I am in Tobago. I said on Thursday from Tobago that if this turns out to warrant an action by the Prime Minister I will not hesitate to act,” he said.

He went on:

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“What exactly do you want me to do? You want me to act without knowing what is involved. You, people of the media might have a little more freedom than I have in this situation.

If I had picked up my phone and called the Commissioner of Police or called the officer who was supposed to be doing it, if I called any of them I know what I will be exposed to allegations of interfering in a Police investigation or attempting to influence it.”

“I’ve seen it written by you in the media. The very fact that Patrick Manning called a Police Station to find out if his driver was arrested… I saw senior reporters writing in the papers that because he was Prime Minister, the very fact that he called the station could influence the police to let go the man. And you would have done that on Thursday or Friday if I had interfered by asking the Police or the DPP’s office what this is about.”

Asked if there would be a by-election for the Port of Spain South seat, which McDOnald holds, Rowley responded:

“Is there a vacancy in Port of Spain South?”

“One thing comes after the other. Until there is a vacancy in POS South there can be no by-election. What creates vacancy in POS South is the demise and absence of a Member of Parliament, so let’s not jump the gun. I do not know that that is happening so let tomorrow deal with tomorrow.”

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