Persecution and smear campaigns
The Piarco Airport case that was kept going by the PNM Government and all the persecution against former prime minister Basdeo Panday, his wife Oma and others for 18 years were dropped on March 6 by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

It all seems impossible that it took almost two decades for the judicial system to drop the corruption case and stop the persecution of a former Prime Minister, his wife, former government minister Carlos John and businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh.

The nightmare for these people has finally come to an end but really, questions should be asked by them and the citizens why the People’s National Movement persecution and slander machinery continued this charade for such a long time.

Any person that has to endure this type of persecution for such a long time must ask the question why the authorities could have taken so long before dropping this and what retribution the victims have against the authorities and the Government? These people’s lives were affected for the past two decades with corruption allegations hanging over their heads and it must have had a psychological effect on their lives and the shame they faced in the public domain with rumours swirling all around them.

In my humble opinion, the current Government seems to have had a deliberate policy to make the population believe the United
National Congress was corrupt, and that the UNC Members of Parliament and their friends are corrupt and always cutting some deals.

The Opposition Leader recently spoke on a Monday Night Forum and accused the PNM of using a smear and slander machine as a smokescreen. She stated: “After 25 years of slander and lies to try to bring down the UNC government, the case against Mr Panday, his wife, Ish Galbaransingh, Brian Kuei Tung and Carlos John—25 years of persecuting these people for the Piarco matter, it’s collapsed!”

Our citizens should just not turn a blind eye to this type of persecution because anyone that has to endure such political persecution and pressure from the state should be able to get some compassion, compensation and closure after all this time.

That’s why I don’t fault Mr Galbaransingh for stating that he intends to file a malicious prosecution lawsuit against the State.

He literally stated it felt like a guillotine over his head for 18 years.

How can we forgive the state and the current Government for perpetuating these allegations for such a long time and persecuting Panday for such a long time.

This man, what he has gone through in the twilight of his career, it is just sad that it took so long for any closure. This man, who was one of our prime ministers and in some people’s opinion one of the best prime ministers we have seen in Trinidad and Tobago, a man near 90 years old, has been tortured and persecuted for decades and it seems that the same thing is in the cards for the current Opposition Leader.

The “Emailgate” smear campaign began in 2013 and continued for years and perpetuated a lie against the then-Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and members of her cabinet.

Six years later, the “Emailgate” case was finally concluded. The
case was closed after the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decided that the evidence, after being examined, did not reach the threshold required for criminal charges.

The then-Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, went to Parliament with what is now described as fake emails, typed out emails, that never really existed and could not have been traced as they were allegedly typed out by someone and there was no proof of any electronic footprint.

With that ammunition, he basically was able to convince enough people that it was real and an investigation was launched into the wild allegations of even plotting to kill a journalist and bribe the DPP office.

Dr Rowley read a thread of 31 email messages in Parliament purporting to be a conversation between four people, where the email accounts were similar to those of the then Opposition regime; Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, former national security advisor Gary Griffith and government minister Suruj Rambachan.

It’s all history now, and that case was also closed, as it was proven that the emails were fake but the extent and the level of persecution perpetrated against the UNC over the decades is mind boggling and something has to give now where victims must fight back and where high-ranking officials from the Government should pay out of their own pockets instead of the public purse for all the smear campaigns and all the persecution perpetrated against these people whose names are now cleared by our judicial system although it took all these years.

NEIL GOSINE Port-of-Spain