By Earl Manmohan, Newsday
The United National Congress (UNC) is calling for a full and thorough investigation into the discovery of five kilos of cocaine and two mortar bombs at the Palmiste home of San Fernando West MP Sadiq Baksh on Wednesday.
The party's Caroni East MP Ganga Singh told a Felicity public meeting the investigation must be done by independent forensic officers from Scotland Yard and the FBI. He added that the time had come to invoke the Mutual Assistance Treaty.
Singh said the UNC also wanted the immediate impounding of all documents and specimens in the matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as immunity and protection of all persons involved in the matter including "whistle blowers".
He said the party also wanted full disclosure of the report on the incident within three weeks and the immediate arrest and trial of all culpable parties.
Singh told the meeting he was alerted to the presence of the items at the Baksh residence by a "PNM informer" on Tuesday night. He said he immediately informed UNC Political Leader Basdeo Panday who advised him to relay the information to the Baksh family.
The discovery of the items was the highlight of a party public meeting on Wednesday night in Felicity with all of the six speakers describing it as a "PNM set up" to arrest and jail Baksh without bail. This, they claimed, would give Prime Minister Patrick Manning the edge to elect a Speaker in the 18-18 Parliament.
Panday told the meeting while he was not condemning the entire police service, there was a rogue element in the service being used by the PNM to terrorise people.
He said instead of deploying the police to deal with crime and criminals, the PNM was using certain rogue elements in the service against the leadership of the UNC.
However, Police Commissioner Hilton Guy told a news conference yesterday that he was unaware of any "rogue element" in the service.
Panday told the meeting the PNM was trying to undermine the leadership of the UNC because they knew that if they called fresh general elections the party would not win. He added that in the short seven months the PNM has been in Government unemployment, prices and "even their salaries were going up".
"They know that they can't go back (in Government) so the only way they intend to rule is by violence and unlawful means," he said.
The UNC leader recalled that for several months now he had been warning the nation that the PNM intended to break the 18-18 deadlock by arresting the leadership of the UNC, but the newspapers had scoffed at him. He said Manning has been confidently saying that he was going to elect a Speaker.
"How could he be confident when he had 18 and we had 18? He believed he could have bribed someone to cross the floor, but the 18 stalwarts stood up like the rock of Gibraltar, and they will not bend, they will not be sold, they will not be bought and not a man moved an inch, so he has to try something else." Panday claimed what happened to Baksh was not a mistake. He described it as a "sad and cruel" plan to lock up the MP, adding that it was the most terrifying to date that UNC Parliamentarians had faced. "You must not let them trample upon you," he told supporters.
Panday said he was waiting on President Arthur NR Robinson, who has sued him for libel, to appear in the witness box so he can question him on several things including the selection of Manning as Prime Minister. He said he intended to put on his lawyer's wig and gown again to appear in the Civil Court for the matter.
The next UNC public meeting will be on Tuesday at the Couva South constituency office opposite the Couva Health Facility at 7 pm.
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