PM calls on Opposition to support Whistleblower Bill

Home*Cover Story*News

PM calls on Opposition to support Whistleblower Bill

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said corruption is pervasive in Trinidad and Tobago and law is needed.

He made the statement while laying the Whistleblower Protection Bill 2022 in parliament.

While doing so, he also called on the Opposition to support the Bill in its present form, or he will have it amended and passed with a simple majority.

Rowley said he heard that the Opposition was set to not support it but asked that they do as “half a loaf is better than no bread.”

“The bottom line is corruption in Trinidad and Tobago is not just ole talk. The concern about corruption is not just ole talk. Allegations of corruption are not just allegations. In many instances, they are supported by disturbing pools of facts.”

With over two decades in Parliament, Rowley said he is alarmed that the country is yet to scratch the surface of the problem.

He said corruption is in every layer and facet of the country including the clergy. He even recalled that a parliamentarian was kicked out of a church for stealing money. Rowley said it is the nature of human beings to want more than they are allowed and get an advantage over others.

“We are fooling ourselves if we take that position that we do not know that there is a need for this legislation in this country,” he said.

The Prime Minister argued that the Opposition not supporting the legislation because they do not view it as “good law” is a cop out. If the Opposition can identify an issue, he said, then the Government will adjust the bill if needed.

“This bill, passed into law will not be a panacea, but it will contribute significantly to a serious up-think by society to not just scratch the surface in treating corruption, but creating an environment where corruption will not be encouraged and will not flourish.”

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said rather than bringing legislation, the Government should seek to strengthen public confidence in State institutions.

“Who are you really trying to fool? Is it because election is 12 months away you trying to tick off a box when you go on a platform?” he asked.

“This (bill) cannot deal with corruption. This cannot deal with serious issues of white-collar crime because there is no confidence in our institutions,” Moonilal added.

The House was adjourned without a vote on the bill.