Debates negotiator for the People’s Partnership, Larry Lalla has launched a second round of salvos against the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
The Chamber was accused by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of bias toward the People’s National Movement, and she would not be given a fair hearing by the Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission (TTDC) – the Commission was developed by the Chamber. Persad-Bissessar made the statements during the launch of the Partnership’s Manifesto launch last week, titled “20 pledges for 2020.”
Chamber President Robert Trestrail finally broke his silence regarding the accusations laid against the TTDC, on Monday in a release which summarily dismissed the Prime Minister’s claims and said a debate is necessary now more than ever due to economic uncertainty in the country.
Lalla, however, is convinced the Prime Minister’s accusations remain unaddressed.
“This release by the Chamber of Commerce does nothing to address the serious concerns which have been raised concerning the partial and biased approach of the so-called Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission,” Lalla said. “The link between campaign financing of the PNM and elements of the TTDC – which was revealed by Ms Isha Wells in clearing her name of allegations against her – cannot be ignored.” Lalla then claimed that the Chamber’s President “chose to avoid it.”
Lalla said the Prime Minister will continue to seek opportunities for full, open, and impartial debate opportunities but the Partnership has no faith that the TTDC can foster such a debate. The negotiator then called the Commission a “laughing stock,” and said he felt there was no way to address the Commission’s “many failings and shortcomings.”
"When operatives in one political party claim the TTDC is ‘their’ organisation, it is no longer possible to believe in the impartiality of the organisation," Lalla said.
(Photo courtesy: The Trinidad Guardian)