Whilst the mainstream media reported on a mysterious buck we all laughed, enjoyed, and made memes out of the fiasco. However, during that same week, something far more newsworthy was transpiring. It was brought to the public that the PNM government was engaging in a form of nepotism. A massive leasing deal made between the government and company Zaman was exposed for being directly connected to the Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
Today this story has picked up more relevance and unfortunately (for the media) it looks as though there is no buck to cover the muck.
The lease is concerning the building, 3 Alexandra place St. Clair. According to opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the government is paying at $575,000 per month (plus VAT) to use the building. If this claim is true that means that the Al-Rawi family would be looking at a comfortable $23 million dollars over a three-year period.
Persad-Bissessar’s claims cut even deeper. She went on during a forum that was held at the El Dorado Secondary School, to say that whilst the negotiations for the deal were being made Al-Rawi removed himself as director of Zaman (which is the company that owns the building).
She said that Al-Rawi then made his son Abraham Al-Rawi and his wife the directors of the Zaman.
Persad-Bissessar has called on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to investigate whether there were any violations against the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Al-Rawi says he not only recused himself but that he took no part in assisting the negotiations. He says he left the room when the matter was considered by Cabinet.
Since this news surfaced roughly around two weeks ago, The Prime Minister has come out in obvious support of his Attorney General.
Rowley stated that leasing buildings is something governments do whenever they have no office space themselves. He points to the fact that it is not giving away money but that it is the buying of a service.
The claims Rowley made are that it is not because the building belongs to Faris was the deal made, rather the deal was made because it fit the governments needs.
UNC Public Relations Officer Anita Haynes made a statement on Monday which