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Abdulah: By-election a ‘falling-out of thieves’
Political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah yesterday referred to the upcoming by-election in Chaguanas West as a “falling out of thieves.” Abdulah was speaking at a MSJ press conference at the Communications Workers Union Hall on Henry Street, Port-of-Spain. “We are saying categorically that what is happening in Chaguanas West is a case of the thieves falling out amongst themselves,” he said.
“There is an old saying that when tief tief from tief god laughs. Sadly, in this situation it is not a situation of somebody stealing from private money; it is a matter of allegations and accusations about who has been stealing from the public purse,” he said. Abudlah added that the Chaguanas West by-election was an “internal battle within the UNC.”
He said the Government and former government ministers are using “insider information” in a series of smear campaigns. This is why the MSJ, he added, has opted not to participate in the by-election and will focus on local government elections later this year. The accusations of corruption made by the candidates as well as by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar were directly linked to issues of poor governance in T&T, Abdulah said.
“The fundamental crisis of governance in our country is why we walked away and this is the issue of corruption is manifesting itself in Chaguanas West,” he said. “It is also manifesting in the failure of authorities to go after people who are not paying taxes and so on.” He added that there were “elements” in both the Government and the Opposition who did not want strong public procurement legislation. Abdulah was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Procurement.
“If we had a strong regulation then issues arising now in public domain would not be taking place...The root of all evil in government is money and corruption,” he said. He added that there was approximately $10-15 billion annually in uncollected taxes, which were primarily unpaid by “business people.” He said the main offenders were businesses supporting political parties.
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