Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC on Friday dismissed as “reckless and dishonest in the extreme” claims by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley that the LifeSport programme is being used to “fund criminal elements in the East/West corridor ahead of the 2015 general election”. She called Dr Rowley’s claims “another calculated and underhanded attempt by Dr Rowley and the PNM to mislead the population.”
In an official statement, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar called on the Opposition Leader to “stop using distortions of facts to fix his poor credibility ratings and failed leadership of his party.”
Reports on Friday quoted the Leader of the Opposition as saying that the LifeSport programme “was deliberately and rapidly expanded to fund criminal elements in preparation for next year’s general election” and that “the plan fell apart with the May 4 murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, which, he said, alerted security agencies to corrupt practices.”
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar dismissed the Opposition leader, saying: “The fact that an audit has been mandated for the LifeSport programme is enough to make Dr Rowley’s deceptive claim baseless and without merit.”
She added, “In fact, these claims point to confusion in his mind; he may not yet have realized that the PNM’s approach to Government of using State agencies to fund criminal gangs was rejected four years ago. He clearly believes that we are operating the way he did in Government. His allegations are a complete distortion.”
The Prime Minister said, “It is even more irresponsible to attempt to deliberately mislead the public in his attempts to fix the very serious credibility problem suffered by himself and his Opposition party,”
She added: “The criminal element that we have waged war against is something that the PNM nurtured in almost nine years of Government. Despite the challenges, we have every intention of bringing criminals to justice and bringing the control to crime that the PNM fostered.
“Dr Rowley was there, he knows what the PNM did. He condoned it. And now this brazen and pitiful attempt to re-write history and cast the blame elsewhere makes clear that Rowley has no intention of fixing the party, but rather inflicting the same failed PNM on our country again.
“Dr Rowley is finding it difficult to provide any credible defence for the PNM’s tenure and is now fabricating lies to blame others for his party’s failures. Such deliberate distortion damages whatever credibility Rowley has left and demonstrates that in order to get the public’s attention he would do, say and promise anything, regardless of whether it is the truth.”
The Prime Minister said: “This not only makes Dr Rowley and the Opposition a threat to the fundamental tenets of democracy, it makes them a very dangerous threat to our country. Nothing Dr Rowley says can be taken seriously. He simply cannot be trusted or believed.”