JM | Feb 27, 2023

Trinidad’s Opposition denies knowledge of probe into human trafficking allegations against party colleagues

/ Our Today

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Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal. (Photo: Instagram @mproodalmoonilal)

Trinidad’s Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal has denied any knowledge of a probe into the involvement of a member of the previous People’s Partnership administration in human trafficking.

However, a former legislator in the People’s Partnership government Dr Devant Maharaj has said that Moonilal was the person assigned to lead that investigation.

This comes following Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley revelation in Parliament last Friday (February 24) that the 2022 United States Report on Human Trafficking pointed fingers at current members of parliament but not those sitting on the side of the government.

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley. (Photo: Facebook @OPMTT)

Maharaj said following allegations of human trafficking, he assisted in the international investigations conducted between 2010-2015 within the United National Congress (UNC) – one of the parties in the then coalition government.

Maharaj has since revealed that the allegations were confirmed to be true and correct.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar dismissed the claim and speaking at a press conference on Sunday (February 27), Moonilal did the same.

“I am not aware of any investigation. It certainly was not any investigation of any Cabinet or any Cabinet business. I am not sure if former minister Maharaj may have conducted his own inquiry into any matter. If he did, then surely the ministry would have a report and that report could be found and if there’s any claim of wrongdoing or criminal conduct, then such a report ought to go to the police,” Moonilal said.

“To my knowledge, when we look, there was some inquiry in 2011, 2012, I believe. I cannot accuse Mr Maharaj of suppressing information or knowledge of criminal wrongdoing and waiting until Dr Rowley made such an abominable allegation in Parliament Friday to come out and confirm that.”

Moonilal said if any criminal wrongdoing was discovered, it ought to have been passed on to the police.

“It was the very same Dr Roodal Moonilal who was charged to investigate the individual in question for one of the two probes.”

Dr Devant Maharaj

However, Maharaj, who now resides in Canada, doubled down on his claim, saying that not only was Moonilal aware of the probe but had been tasked by then Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar to lead it.

“It was the very same Dr Roodal Moonilal who was charged to investigate the individual in question for one of the two probes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roodal Moonilal has called on Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher to say whether lawmen were engaged in any investigation involving Parliament members, whether the Government or the Opposition dealing with human trafficking.


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