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Another road block

PORT OF SPAIN — Another investigation into “emailgate” has been met with a gridlock.

And once again, the investigators — in this case, the Privileges Commit­ tee of the House of Representatives — have recognised that they could go no further without the cooperation of the key witness, who is in this case the “accused”, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

The police have been asked to determine whether there was any merit in what was said by Rowley inside the House and whether there was wrong­doing by anyone.

The House meanwhile brought him before its quasi­judicial body, the Committee of Privileges, for deliberately misleading the House. And neither investigation has borne any fruit.

With Parliament due to prorogue next Wednesday, the question of sanctions against Rowley is now a dead issue, the committee having reported with no finding.

In its report which was tabled in the House of Representatives

yesterday, the committee stated: “Your Committee wishes to report that it finds itself in an unusual place in terms of its proceedings. In his letter to the Committee dated June 25, 2013, the Leader of the Opposition informed the Committee that he was not prepared to answer any further questions from Members of the Committee on statements made by him in the House. The Committee is of the view that the Member has thereby indicated his unwillingness to further present himself to the Committee of Privileges to assist the Committee in its deliberations.”

“On the sole occasion that the Leader of the Opposition presented himself to the Committee for examination, only three Members were able to question him. No other Member, although prepared to ask questions, was able to do so, time being limited…. Having regard to the June 25th letter … it was clear to the Committee that the Leader of the Opposi­ tion had already taken the position that he will not subject himself to the Committee to assist the Committee.

“The Committee also noted that the Leader of the Opposition had a conceptual difficulty in that the Member was not being requested to appear before the Committee to “launch a defence”, but merely to “assist” the Committee”.

“In those circumstances and given the adamant views of the Leader of the Opposition, the Committee wishes to report to the House on the status of its work and advise that the matter remains incomplete, for the reasons outlined above.”

The report was not signed by the three People’s National Movement members on the committee.

Rowley, for his part, raised issues of apparent bias, pointing to the fact that some members on the committee had declared the e­mails to be a fabrication during the debate.

He referred specifically to Housing Minister Dr. Roodal Moonilal, who came to the House armed with hard hat, goggles and gloves, construction equipment used by fabricators, as a recipient of one of the controversial e­mails and who, he (Rowley) later pointed out, accompanied Prime Miister Kamla Persad­Bissessar to the police station when she allegedly went to hand over her devices. (Express)

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