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The demonisation of Rowley

Published: 
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The after-wash of the Alleyne-Toppin fundamental breach of the human rights of Keith Rowley, his father and mother, the mother of his child and the child, now a grown man, by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, her ministers and certain United National Congress apologists is almost as bad as the initial unfair and unsubstantiated brutality waged against the political leader of the People’s National Movement in the Parliament.

“I disagree with parts of the statement, but it serves to place on the agenda the crime of rape,” and “Dr Rowley has questions to answer,” have been the two most widely used excuses by the PM, her ministers and supporters to continue the demonisation of a man, his long dead father and mother and the mother of Dr Rowley’s son, both of whom have no quarrel with him.

Roselyn Alleyne, supposed victim of an alleged rape, has categorically denied the allegations and utilised dates of her birth and that of her child, dismissed the allegation of Rowley being teacher to the underage alleged victim and her own account of the encounter with Keith Rowley saying in effect it was a consensual liaison with a young man “I liked.”

This notwithstanding, the PM, her ministers and supporters, including a venerable Holy Man, have continued to raise questions about Rowley’s character and to make insinuations.  

The exception has been Minister Roodal Moonilal; we shall come back to him.

Questions for the PM, her ministers and others who insist that Dr Rowley has questions to answer: What are these questions? What parts of the Alleyne-Toppin speech they agree with and the parts they have reservations about? Is their disagreement with Alleyne-Toppin over the unsubstantiated allegations against Dr Rowley?

If they have no problem with those allegations then they agree with Alleyne-Toppin.

If they disagree with those direct allegations, then what else do they agree with? Is it the “passion” displayed by the minister? Is it how she blended well her Shouter Baptist apparel with the UNC yellow? They need to tell the nation how and what were the points of departure and agreement with Alleyne-Toppin.

Only Leader of Government business in the House, Dr Roodal Moonilal was man enough to say that one, he cleared the speech to be made by Alleyne-Toppin in the debate, and two, “I am proud of her.”

Dr Moonilal’s position poses questions for his prime minister to answer as he made no qualifications of which parts of the speech he agreed and disagreed with, he loved the whole hog.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, if you qualified your position on what the current member for Tobago East, your minister Alleyne-Toppin, said, that means you have problems with elements of her presentation. It would therefore be legitimate to assume you did not agree with the most lurid and unjustified parts, and if your leader of business in the House gives unqualified support to and pride in Alleyne-Toppin’s presentations, it follows that you must have a problem with Dr Moonilal giving full permission to Alleyne-Toppin to slander Rowley.   

It is therefore a natural follow-on that you would have problems with Moonilal who one, gave her permission to go ahead with the whole speech and two, complimented her on her delivery, he having great pride in her performance.

To not see it in those terms would be deeply and intellectually dishonest. You therefore, PM, need to have had an apology from your minister who oversaw, perhaps even prompted the Alleyne-Toppin statement.

There is another element to this matter so far overlooked completely. If MP Vernella Alleyne, the Prime Minister and her government are so sure that Dr Rowley has at least committed an illegal act (he surely cannot be held accountable for the alleged “original sin” of his father) then that would be a matter for police investigation. Therefore, Alleyne-Toppin must hand the evidence she has over to the Ag Commissioner for investigation and not simply keep it to slander Rowley and others under the cover of Parliament.  

That would ensure that Dr Rowley answers the questions.

And that brings us to the other point which figures definitively in this matter. What took place in the Parliament on that infamous Wednesday reflects directly on how the House of Representatives is constituted and under what rules and guidance it functions. This is a matter that has not so much to do with individuals but rather with the dysfunctional Republican Constitution.

Under the constitution, power is given to the ruling party, effectively the Prime Minister, to further bend the operations of the House in the favour of whoever is elected PM by giving the PM the power to elect a Speaker, given the built-in majority of the ruling party.

This effectively means that the Speaker when appointed/selected by the PM and ruling party has little choice but to be biased towards the hand that has appointed him/her. In such circumstances as obtained on the day of Alleyne-Toppin’s infamy, the Speaker could not have found fault with the presentation.

To do otherwise would be for the Speaker to smash the agenda of the party and Prime Minister who placed him in the chair.

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