SOMEONE charged $350,000 for the roti delivered to a Divali function at the Prime Minister’s residence during the tenure of Kamla Persad-Bissessar, claims Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Rowley also revealed that under the Peoples Partnership, the cost to maintain a pool at the Prime Minister’s residence was $47,000 per month. He said that the contractor, hired by late Prime Minister Patrick Manning was fired and another contractor hired.

Under the present administration, a new contractor for pool maintenance was recruited at a cost of $15,000 per month.

Speaking at the Peoples National Movement (PNM) local government meeting in Cocoyea, San Fernando on Wednesday, Rowley said: “I saw some records at the Prime Minister’s residence. You know every year at the Prime Minister’s residence we have a function for Divali, for Eid, for Christmas, for Emancipation. For one Divali function they (the Peoples Partnership) paid $350,000 for roti.”

The Prime Minister said that the Persad-Bissessar had problems with Energy Franklin Khan’s wife receiving contracts, but during her tenure as Prime Minister, Persad-Bissessar did not address the contract and gave more.

He said: “She (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) waving a paper (saying) that she had the proof that Frankie Khan wife got a contract and was paid for it. This senior counsel can’t see that if you got a contract and you did the work that you ought to be paid. And even if the contract was under the PNM, and you thought it was a bad contract, for five years you were there with (Attorney General) Anand Ramlogan. How come you didn’t lock up Frankie Khan wife then? But you coming out to harrass my soul about a contract. You had five years to deal with. And so bad it was that you gave her more contract, but you waving that. But I want you to wave the receipt for the roti for $350,000 for one Divali function.” Rowley was accompanied by newly appointed Minister of Energy Franklin Khan, Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, Housing Ministry Randall Mitchell and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who chaired the meeting.


Rowley also spoke about water issues at the Prime Minister’s residence.

He said that since he became Prime Minister, at the PM’s residence, there has been water problems.

Rowley said he asked that the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) investigate and discovered that a water valve had been cemented, which obstructed that water flow.

“Somebody under the last regime, cemented the valve closed to the Prime Minister’s residence and that generated an opportunity for a contractor to supply water for the Prime Minister’s residence. All WASA had to do was to break the concrete open the valve and we’ve had water flowing ever since,” he said.


The Prime Minister claimed that the former administration only gave ministerial positions so as to not break apart the coalition which formed the Peoples Partnership.

Rowley lashed out at the former government, saying that there was little done for urban renewal and rural development.

“The last government, every single Member of Parliament and every single senator except one, was minister or a parliament secretary and it had nothing to do with the work programme. It had nothing to do with a vision of development, it had nothing to do with an empathy for those who were left behind, it had nothing to do with urban renewal or rural development in the country, it had everything to do with keeping a bunch of political miscreants happy. And that is how Rodger Samuel became a minister and how Clifton DeCoteau became a minister,” he said.

He said that the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration was a Ministry of nothing, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

Rowley said he received a report of the Ministry which he said contained nothing, “because it was a Ministry of Nothing. You know that it cost you a couple million dollars though, because the Minister, his Permanent Secretary and his entourage and his sustenance is a few million dollars. And what was Rodger Samuel ministry? Can’t even recall the name,” he said.


Rowley also addressed the issue of children that Persad-Bissessar brought up during a United National Congress (UNC) public meeting on Tuesday.

Persad-Bissessar said that Rowley was an “embarrassment to this country”.

Responding to this Rowley said: “You know what her (Persad-Bissessar) issue is? That I have more children outside than I have inside. Well I want to tell Kamla Persad-Bissessar tonight, that is none of your goddamn business. Because as long as Sharon is happy with how much I have outside and how much I have inside, Rowley is happy with that. At least what I have outside and what I have inside, they escape and they alive.”


Rowley lashed out at Persad-Bissessar, saying that the UNC had no plans for local government and is “interfering” with the lives of Government minister’s families.

He said: “Her entire involvement in this campaign so far is to interfere with people’s families. Well, if your family is a mess we left you with that, what you interfering with our families for? She now has put her teeth into Minister’s wives. And of course, minister’s children. So the person who led five record breaking budgets, the Prime Minister who managed the five largest budgets in the history of Trinidad and Tobago is not Eric Williams, not George Chambers, not Basdeo Pandey, the Prime Minister who managed the five largest budgets in the history of Trinidad and Tobago is none other than Kamla Persad-Bissessar. And one year after leaving elections, she can say nothing useful for local development and the issues of the country.”


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