By Earl Manmohan
UNC Political Leader Basdeo Panday said yesterday that he didn't think it was necessary for the police to carry out a search on his Gulf View home on Tuesday.
He said the search was carried out by a party of policemen led by Sr Supt Wellington Virgil head of the Fraud Squad, looking for documents in the conduct of their investigations into allegations that he held large sums of money in a bank in the United Kingdom.
Panday said he had submitted all the documents and a statement to the Integrity Commission on the matter.
He was speaking at a press conference at UNC Port-of-Spain office to discuss the police search, which was reported exclusively by Newsday yesterday.
Panday said he had requested a copy of the search warrant from the police who informed him that he was not entitled to one. However, he added, since then he had been informed by his attorneys that he was entitled to one, and had therefore written the Police Commissioner for a copy.
He placed the blame for the search on the PNM, saying nothing the Patrick Manning administration could and quite probably would do, would intimidate him or in any way deter him from the struggle he had been fighting all his life for — social justice, equality of opportunity, the inclusion of all groups in the process and the benefits of national development, and for national unity.
"I will continue my struggle from the witness box in court, if it comes to that, or from a police cell, if it comes to that," he vowed.
Panday said should the most radical and terminal action be taken by the Manning administration to eliminate him from the politics, he will face that fate in the knowledge that there will be countless others to take his place.
He stressed: "My fight, my struggle is not and never was for Basdeo Panday. I have always fought for the dispossessed and the oppressed in this country."
He said in the history of T&T, it would be hard to find a more ruthless and a more sustained campaign of oppression than what the Manning regime had been inflicting upon the Commissioners and Executive of the Elections and Boundaries Commission.
Panday said that confronted with an economy that was declining in the face of a burgeoning energy sector, the Manning administration had been engaged in an "orgy" of public spending that was an obscene attempt to buy votes in the marginal constituencies.
Faced with unprecedented levels of crime, Manning brought in people to negotiate the release of businessmen who might be kidnap victims, he said, adding that surely the government should be investing in resources to prevent such crimes, instead of bringing in ransom negotiators and people trying to sell kidnapping insurance policies to businessmen.
Panday said Manning had ran out of time and the UNC was as ready as it could be for general elections expected on October 7. He said his only fear for the elections was that the UNC might win many more seats this time around.
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