Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress MP Roodal Mooni­lal is bat­ting for Pro­gres­sive De­mo­c­ra­t­ic Pa­tri­ots leader Wat­son Duke.

Mooni­lal has called on Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley to say whether or not Row­ley was aware that a high po­lit­i­cal fig­ure had sought to in­flu­ence the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice’s Firearms unit to“ take away” Duke’s li­censed firearm.

Speak­ing at the par­ty’s Vir­tu­al Fo­rum, Mooni­lal said he had in­for­ma­tion that “… a high po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cial from To­ba­go” had sought to use their in­flu­ence by “pres­sur­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing the Po­lice Ser­vice” to seize Duke’s firearm in light of pend­ing charges at the mag­is­trate’s court.

Mooni­lal’s claim came as cam­paign­ing for the De­cem­ber 6 To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly polls heat­ed up. The UNC is not con­test­ing but the PDP, Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment and three oth­er par­ties are. Row­ley, at a PNM To­ba­go Coun­cil meet­ing last Sat­ur­day, al­lud­ed to the rape charge Duke is cur­rent­ly fac­ing be­fore the courts.

Last night, Mooni­lal said Row­ley had tried to “dis­arm” Duke on the plat­form with those com­ments. He queried if ef­forts had al­so been on to dis­arm Duke phys­i­cal­ly.

Mooni­lal al­so want­ed Row­ley to ex­plain whether he had knowl­edge of any high Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial who sought to in­flu­ence the process for dis­tri­b­u­tion of firearm li­cens­es – par­tic­u­lar­ly to seek to ob­tain a li­cense for a spe­cialised weapon for killing pigs.

He said the re­quest for a li­cense was turned down. He al­so queried if some­one in To­ba­go had want­ed a li­cense to sell guns and this was re­ject­ed. Mooni­lal asked if Gov­ern­ment had want­ed ex-Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith gone be­cause he “re­fused to break the law.”

Mooni­lal al­so dis­missed Row­ley’s con­cerns in his let­ter to for­mer Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion chair Bliss Seep­er­sad about Grif­fith. He was re­fer­ring to a let­ter which Row­ley wrote to Seep­er­sad on Sep­tem­ber 16, 2020, af­ter the PM and Grif­fith were in­volved in a pub­lic spat over the breach of COVID-19 health pro­to­cols dur­ing a pool par­ty at Bay­side Tow­ers in Co­corite.

The Oropouche East MP al­so called on TTPS to say if the Po­lice Com­plaints Au­thor­i­ty has sent a list of po­lice of­fi­cers they rec­om­mend­ed to be sus­pend­ed from du­ty as a re­sult of on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­to mis­be­hav­iour in of­fice, cor­rup­tion and oth­er se­ri­ous of­fences in­ves­ti­gat­ed by the PCA, which may war­rant sus­pen­sion of po­lice of­fi­cers im­me­di­ate­ly.

“It’s my un­der­stand­ing the PCA sub­mit­ted a list of po­lice of­fi­cers to be sus­pend­ed but they can­not be be­cause there’s no Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er in place at this time, so that per­sons who are al­leged­ly rogue cops, dirty cops and cor­rupt po­lice of­fi­cers are now on du­ty as a re­sult of the im­plo­sion of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and the in­ter­fer­ence of the po­lit­i­cal di­rec­torate in­to the ap­point­ment of a new com­mis­sion­er,” Mooni­lal added.

“This is un­ten­able. It’s not in the in­ter­est of se­cu­ri­ty to have po­lice of­fi­cers with such se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions at­tend­ing to du­ties. The PSC must act swift­ly to sub­mit the ex­ist­ing (CoP) mer­it list to the Pres­i­dent so it can be trans­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment and a de­ci­sion can be tak­en on a CoP.’’

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